Saturday, December 26, 2009

12/26/09-Dusitra Thai, North Haven, CT

It has been a while since we've had a proper opportunity to go out somewhere new, with the holiday season upon us and all, but I was glad to oblige when Tom had a craving for Thai! A few miles down the street from us is Dusitra and I am glad we gave it a try. We stopped in at noontime and there was only one other couple in the restaurant at the time, so service was quick and friendly. We were told to pick any table and we sat by the windows and glasses of water were quickly brought over. Tom ordered the pad thai with shrimp--plentiful portion with six shrimp atop the pile. I had the drunken noodles with chicken and I was absolutely thrilled with it. I am not an expert on Thai food (tomatoes in drunken noodles?) but we were both happy with our experience. According to the website, there is a lunch menu but I am guessing that it is only during the week as it was not given to us. We heartily enjoyed our meals and anticipate returning here whenever the craving arises.

Monday, December 7, 2009

12/3/09-Camputaro's Pizza, Wallingford, CT

We didn't have a chance to go out to dinner this weekend (but did an insane amount of grocery shopping! That's what happens when the freezer gets bare!) so I figured I'd blog about the pizza we had for takeout Thursday night when I was unprepared for dinner.

Not too far from our place is Camputaro's and they make a pretty decent pie when I'm in a pinch for dinner. We don't typically order pizza anymore since we make some pretty damn good pizza ourselves but this joint has a ton of specialty pizza's and many other items so you may have a good full meal. It took about 20 min from the time we called it in (I was on my way home)--tonight's choice was nothing fancy, just a nice sausage pizza. We have also enjoyed a few other of their creations with good results. There are a plethora of pizza choices in Wallingford, but we believe this place is right up there as one of the better ones.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

11/28/09-Rossini's Italian Restaurant & Pizza, Cheshire, CT

Both of us had a long day--me with work, Tom with moving furniture--and we were craving something hearty. It has been quite a few years since we'd been to Rossini's and I am glad we finally returned. The place was jammin, both in the dining area and the takeout section. Quickly seated, our waitress was very pleasant, helpful and efficient. Tom had the eggplant parmigiana, which was served with a side of pasta, a salad and rolls--the eggplant came out piping hot and plentiful. I had the veal parmigiana grinder with a side salad--the grinder was huge and really hit the spot (if I had a complaint, it would be that my small side salad that I ordered was $4, but so it goes). We both left stuffed and happy, with takeout containers to enjoy the next day. This is a very friendly hometown pizza joint with a laid-back, comfortable feel- I hope we don't take a few years till our next visit!

11/21/09-Los Mariachis, Wallingford, CT

I apologize for the lateness on this review--I didn't realize I forgot to blog! I digress.

We decided to grab a quick dinner before heading to the casino to see Jimmy Buffett (AMAZING!) rather than trying to get a seat at Margaritaville with the rest of my parrotheads and what better to get than Mexican?! The restaurant was relatively empty and we were told to pick a table. The dining area is very brightly decorated with art and other items from Mexico, along with a banner or two for Corona. Our waitress brought over a basket of tortilla chips and two salsas--a spicy red and a tomatillo. Tom and I were both privy to the red--I wouldn't even call it a salsa, rather a red sauce. One of the specials for the evening was a chipotle chicken quesadilla, which we were so glad we tried--bursting with flavor, nice and smoky with a good amount of heat yet not overpowering. For entrees, Tom had the supreme steak burrito--it was HUGE and delicious--chock full of rice, beans, steak, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese. My entree was the flauta dinner (no beans for me!) and it was a good choice. Overall, this is a good place to get a quick dinner at great prices. Considering we live right down the street, I am sure we'll be back!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

11/13/09-Imperial Caribbean Restaurant, Cromwell, CT

Had the pleasure of a revist this evening and dinner was lovely. This place is still pretty slow, only one other table when we arrived at 730 but they seemed to be doing a decent take-out business. We picked our table and quickly had our beverages brought to us. For appetizer, we couldn't resist having the festival dumplings with their creole dipping sauce--hot and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I think I would totally get an order (or 2...) for takeout and bring em home to surprise Tom! Our salads then arrived with a spicy balsamic vinegar and plantains on top. For our entrees, Tom had enjoyed my Curry Chicken so much last time that he ordered it this time--and cleaned his plate! I tried the Jerk Chicken which had a nice amount of heat on the back end of the bite. I tried the Mac au Gratin as my side instead of the rice and beans but it wasn't my thing--strong cheese with an interesting flavor (not sure what it was) but Tom really enjoyed it, so I guess you'll have to try it for yourself! As usual, we stuffed ourselves so there was no room for dessert--a successful dinner, if I do say so.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

10/31/09-The Mill at 2T, Tariffville, CT

Went out on a whim this Halloween's night up to Simsbury to have dinner at the Mill at 2T and my goodness, what an experience! A very unassuming, small place with room for only a few tables and a small kitchen. We were greeted by Kelleanne, who was very pleasant and she showed us to the last 2 seats at the "bar"--really, it was adjacent to the open kitchen and we had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Ryan all evening and it allowed us to preview the menu options. Chef Ryan explained that the menu changes daily and if there was something that caught our eye, we should go for it because odds are, it wouldn't be around again for a while--that's all he had to say for us to try something out of the ordinary, though I don't think I would call any of his creations "ordinary"--they were incredible and very well thought out.

I ordered a glass of Pino Gris and Tom had a Blue Moon and we were brought a basket of popovers to start--freshly made and fantastic! While watching them work, we decided on our starters--I had the Mixed Baby Greens from Starlight Gardens, Beltane Farms Goat Cheese,Candied Walnuts, Cranberry Confit, Maple & Cranberry Dressing--the greens were fresh, the cheese was creamy and strong and it all worked very well. Tom had the George’s Banks Scallops-Corn and Celery Root Hash, English Pea Emulsion--they were perfectly cooked and accented nicely by the peas. After going back and forth on the menu options, we finally decided--I had the Braised Pork Osso Buco with a red wine reduction and asparagus--it was fork tender and just fell apart in my plate. I've never had Osso Buco before but I think this was very good. Tom chose the Wild Boar Tenderloin, Black Pepper Fries, Brussel and Corn Succotash--his dish was amazing, very well executed--the boar was cooked medium-rare and was not too "gamey" like I thought it might have been--this was a clear winner for us.

We could not let a dining experience like this go without ordering dessert! This was an easy choice--Chocolate Pot de Creme--I swear I died and went to heaven, it was beyond my wildest dreams--rich, creamy and topped with fresh whipped cream. Can I go back just to order this again? It was the perfect ending to a fantastic dining experience. To top it all off, the couple next to us was nice enough to share a few bites of the other 2 desserts on the menu--the Apple Brown Betty and the Warm berries with mascapone cheese--both good, but nothing beats the one we chose. We thanked Ryan and his partner as we were leaving for a great meal--we'll be back, I promise. Next time we'll make reservations--for the bar, of course.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10/25/09-Besito, West Hartford, CT

I have been looking forward to trying this restaurant ever since I heard about it. Luckily, Sheri and I were due to have lunch and she had recently asked for tequila recommendations, so I was more than happy to suggest trying this place out.

Located in the old town hall at Blue Back Square, the high ceilings and chic decor really give it a great ambiance. It was pouring rain and the lunch crowd was sparse when we arrived, hence we were seated quickly and servers were right on top of their game. Glasses of water and a basket of chips and salsa were brought to the table and our drinks arrived shortly thereafter--Sheri had the Besito Tequila Mojito, a different taste than the traditonal mojito but a very smooth flavor; I had the Besito Patron Margarita, which was unlike any other margarita I've ever had, with the tangerine and pomegranate flavors that gave the drink a light fruity taste, very pleasing. For our appetizer, we chose the Flautas de Pollo--two crispy flautas topped with crema and queso fresco, nicely done. For our entrees, Sheri chose the Ceviche del Dia, which was shrimp--served in a small martini glass surrounded with plantains and tortillas for serving--the ceviche seemed to have mango in it, giving it a nice sweet flavor. I had the Enchiladas de Mole Poblano--best I've had since Mexico. The mole sauce was spot-on authentic, the chicken tender and the queso fresco on top just added to it all. This meal really made me miss being in Mexico. At least, now I know where to go when I need my enchilada fix!

At the end of our meal, complimentary cinnamon sugar churros were brought to the table, warm and in a simple white paper bag. We were also given "worry dolls"--tiny little figures that our server told us we were to tell all of our worries to before we went to bed--a nice touch. In all, the best Mexican food I've had since Mexico and probably one of the top restaurants I've been to. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for great Mexican food.

Monday, October 19, 2009

10/17/09-Nick's Restaurant, West Swanzey, NH

Day trip to New Hampshire and on our way to the destination, we passed by this restaurant with a huge inflatable crab spread out covering the rooftop. Well, if that wasn't an attention grabber....from that moment, my sister's friend was hooked and insistent that we go to dinner there on the way home and so we did.

Nothing overly special about this place, average food at reasonable prices. Definitely not a place for a romantic date in my book, a casual outing would be more appropriate. We all started with the salads that accompanied our meals and rolls and butter (not in-house made). For the entrees: Justin had lazyman lobster--he felt he may have decided wrong because the portion seemed much smaller than what he normally pulls out of a lobster; Lauren had baked stuffed shrimp, which she enjoyed but was disappointed that they would not subsitute a side for a soup; Tom had baked stuff haddock (his stomach was not well, so he did not finish but said it was good); I had a strip steak-the grill hatch marks seemed fake, too perfect, which makes me wonder but alas, it was decent; all of our dishes except Lauren's was served with a potato side dish. A nice quick dinner but I think we'll seek out other options next time we're in the area.

No website, located on Rt. 10 close to Keene.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10/10/09-J. Timothy's, Plainville, CT

We have been to this restaurant numerous times over the years and I do enjoy it very much, but I have yet to figure out why it is that this place is so packed every weekend--it's like no other restaurants in Plainville exist! I digress.

After a long day of painting at our friend's new house, we had gone here for dinner to celebrate and relax and what better way to do that but to order a bucket of "dirt" wings to start! They were excellent--even better than I remember! For the non-wing eaters at our table, there was also an order of calamari--everything was devoured--hey, we worked hard!

Lots of entrees to go through so here it is: Tom, Cory, Dan and Jeff all ordered burgers with various toppings of their liking and in true man form, they enjoyed the burgers wholeheartedly. The ladies ordered actual entrees--Jill had the Andouille Mac and Cheese-gemelli pasta, 2 cheese sauce, andouille sausage, peppers & onions topped withlightly cajun spiced bread crumbs--I stole a bite and found it had an interesting taste but not one that I would enjoy for a whole meal, but Jill loved it. Leigh had Portabello and Spinach Ravioli-with a shiitake and spinach marsala cream sauce and I had the Pomegranate Pork Filet Mignon-twin pork tenderloin medallions wrapped in bacon and finished with a pomegranate balsamic glaze, over mashed potatoes and garlic spinach--I believe the "filet mignon" referred to the size of the pork because it was tiny! If I had not had the wings to start, I swear I would have been starving afterwards! The pork did taste great with the pomegranate sauce being an excellent addition, the potatoes were good but the spinach was overdone. Overall, it was a good time with friends--best part was the wings! I think next time I'll order a burger.

10/9/09-City Steam, Hartford, CT

After a crazy week, we finally got to relax with a night out with my friend Gina and her boyfriend. They wanted to go to City Steam, which works for me because I wanted to check out one of the restaurants participating in CT restaurant week (although this was not my choice place for CTRW, nothing else worked out this week!).

We arrived at 730 and there was a 20 minute wait, so we went to the bar. The boys decided to start their evening by ordering a pitcher of the Naughty Nurse Ale, which is Tom's favorite of their beers. Shortly thereafter, we were brought to our table. Our waitress was very prompt, bringing us drinks (Naughty Lemonade for myself and Gina) and bread. For appetizer, we started with nachos with grilled chicken and the plate was huge! Next for our entrees--Gina ordered the Cheddar Chicken Sandwich with waffle fries which she really enjoyed (and it looked great!); her boyfriend ordered a rack of Baby Back Ribs with waffle fries, mashed potatoes and vegetables; Tom ordered the Top Sirloin Steak served with sauteed mushrooms, french fries and vegetables-he seemed to enjoy it very much; I ordered off the CTRW menu--started with the Fall Back Salad-with mesclun greens, gorgonzola, mulled local apples, charred red onions, toasted cashews, cider vinaigrette and sweet potato strings--all the pieces of the salad were great but the salad was a bit overdressed. My entree choice was Brown Sugar Brined Pork Tenderloin with smashed Yukon potatoes and braised spinach finished with a bourbon butterscotch glaze--the pork was plentiful and very sweet with the glaze--excellent! I was not a big fan of their mashed potatoes because I prefer mine to not have chunks of potato (I know, weird) and the spinach was decent. The boys had also ordered another pitcher, this time of the Octoberfest, which they weren't thrilled with. Our waitress also stopped by with a glass of the White Rabbit beer that the bar mistakenly poured--tasted very similar to Blue Moon--very enjoyable.

We were all stuffed after our entrees but I still had dessert coming, which I gladly shared with the table--White Rabbit Napoleon-with strawberries macerated in our own Belgian White Rabbit beer, vanilla bean ice cream and crème patisserie layered in puff pastry-drizzled with basil syrup--sounded interesting but honestly, I don't get the basil syrup part--you got used to it after a few bites but it really threw the whole dessert off for me and the rest of my party. In all, it was a great night--good place to hang out with friends and relax.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10/3/09-Somewhere in Bangkok, Southington, CT

Out to lunch today with Lisa and she suggested Thai, which I was super excited about because I haven't yet had the opportunity to eat Thai. This is a relatively new place on Rt. 10--very small inside, probably holds about 40 people or so, with a modern decorated interior that would have been nice enough for a date night out but was very comfortable for our lunch date. She's had takeout from this place before and recommended the beef pad thai, which she always gets--and that's what she ordered today! I should have stolen a bite because it looked very interesting! I have heard things about "drunken noodles" and I am not really sure why they have that name, but they were excellent--a good amount of heat in the sauce without being overpowering with egg noodles, chicken, broccoli, onions and peppers. I would definitely order that again and hope to come back soon! Prices were very reasonable and I was full leaving the table. It was a nice lunch and I hope we do it again sometime!

No website, but located on Rt. 10 in Southington.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

9/25/09-Coyote Blue, Middletown, CT

Out to dinner with our friends Jeremy and Amanda and this time we tried Coyote Blue in Middletown. We sat in the bar area for about 45 minutes waiting for our table and had some drinks and chips and salsa while waiting--the salsa was pretty good and had a slight kick to it (had corn in it also--a tex-mex thing?). For entrees, we were all pretty satisfied--Amanda had chicken fajitas (I believe she enjoyed them), Jeremy had the West Texas beef burrito (it was huge and he polished the whole thing!), Tom had the Coyote combo (which he says was all-around pretty good) and I had the chicken enchiladas (not bad, but I do prefer mexican style with mole sauce over tex-mex).

Neat place, although tiny, with quite the western feel with the decor. Service was excellent in both the bar and dining area and prices are reasonable. My personal preference is for mexican though--not tex-mex--especially since we just got back from Mexico and I felt spoiled there with all sorts of great food! In all, we had a great time and can't wait to try another new place with them!

9/20/09-J Cakes, North Branford, CT

There's no way I wasn't gonna post about our wedding cake. It was AMAZING.

J Cakes is a small bakery in North Branford that is well worth the trip. Hope is a sweet girl who pulled out the stops to get us a cake within our budget and design. I gave her creative liberty to do whatever she wanted to do with the design of the cake, as long as it was beach/tropical themed since we were married on the beach and she did a fantastic job. I have been eating cake everyday for a week straight now and it is so worth it. We chose a marble cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and a cannoli filling. I cannot tell you how many compliments we got on the cake--I think it was everyone's favorite part! If you read this, Hope--thank you so much for everything! I cannot wait to get another cake from you!

9/20/09=Ascot Catering, Wetherfield, CT

I know the posts have been lacking as of late, but for good reason--Tom and I were married in Cancun Mexico and haven't really been eating out much with all that was going on! The following post is kind of a catch up from our small family reception-I feel I owe our caterers a good review.

Our reception was gorgeous. I know I am probably biased because it was our reception but the Hartford Boathouse really is a spectacular location. We ended up choosing Ascot Catering to use for our reception and we made a great choice. For our entrees, we had Mediterranean pasta, Roast Pork Tenderloin, Beef Tenderloin with a merlot sauce or a horseradish cream sauce and Chicken Asiago--absolutely everything was fantastic. Their timing was impeccable, service was fantastic--it all went off without a hitch. If you are looking for a caterer in the Hartford area, I do not hesitate to recommend them (and you can tell them we sent ya!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

8/14/09-Imperial Caribbean Restaurant, Cromwell, CT

Such an unassuming place in a strip mall off Rt. 3 in Cromwell, we were so pleasantly surprised at how damn good the food could be! We walked in to a small space with brightly colored paintings adorning the walls (all for sale, incidentally) and were told to choose a table. Dinner started with house salads for us, topped with plantains (I haven't had plaintains since Mexico! What a nice surprise!) We then had the festival dumplings which were served with a creole sauce and a jerk sauce--for us, the jerk sauce was the clear winner, though the creole was also excellent. The dumplings were golden-fried crisp on the outside and soft and bready in the middle--and so filling! For entrees, I had a hard time deciding what to try (that just means we'll have to go back!) but I ended up choosing the Zesty Curry Chicken-Tender pieces of chicken marinated in caribbean curry. The chicken was amazing--such flavor and so tender I barely touched my knife to it and it was falling apart in my plate. The rice and bean sides that my dish came with were excellent but I was envious of other diners who had the macaroni as their side (next time!). Tom ordered the Jumpin Jambalaya--a rice combination with shrimp, sausage and chicken tossed in creole sauce and spices--he got a huge dish full of this and it was amazing. I really wanted to try their rum cake for dessert, but sadly we did not get that far. So much food and all of it so good. You can tell that these recipes are tried and true and the restaurant is a labor of love. We'll be back, for sure.

8/12/09-Lao Sze Chuan, Milford, CT

Kirstin and I had an agenda for the evening that included going to Milford so she suggested that we go out for dinner (instead of me cooking!). This place has been highly recommended and now I know why.

Let me start by saying that I love Chinese food but it does have a habit of making me feel not-so-good. Imagine my surprise when I didn't have that feeling after eating here! That's a good start in my book.

This place sparked my interest because it is "authentic Szechuan" and the menu is wide and varied. To start, Kirstin ordered the sauteed minced chicken with peas, carrots and pine nuts with lettuce wraps--good, but it was kinda like eating the inside of a chicken pot pie. For my appetizer, I had Szechuan Dumplings in red chili oil--I cannot stop talking about these. These were clearly in-house made and the taste was phenomenal--not as hot as I thought but by the 4th one, the chili oil had coated the back of my throat and I was feeling it. For entree, Kirstin had Thai-style noodles--she got a huge portion for her money and it was quite tasty! I had ordered the orange beef but orange chicken arrived at the table--I wasn't gonna complain, I like orange chicken and this was no exception--good portion, served with a side of white rice. Overall, a great experience. I am already trying to come up with an excuse to go back to Milford.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

8/7/09-BAR, New Haven, CT

It has been a few years since Tom and I were last here and we were more than happy to give it another go-around. We grabbed our seats immediately at a booth in the bar area and drinks were brought a few minutes after we sat--a vast improvement on our night thus far! Dan's first time here and he loved the feel of the place and we do too--a raucous, loud, neighborhood bar/pizza joint with a great crowd of people. I had heard good things about their mashed potato pizza and was curious about it and was glad the boys were willing to give it a shot, too. We ordered our usual pepperoni pizza and the mashed potato pizza the way the waitress recommended it--white pizza with mashed potato (garlic already included) and bacon! I am happy to report that it was a fantastic choice. The pizzas were nice and thin, black charred in spots on the bottom, crispy and very good overall. Tom admits that he was hesitant in trying the potato but is very glad he did and it is on his favorites list. The prices are also very reasonable, which is good for a couple of people on a budget.

Overall, great experience (and good cold leftover pizza the next day!) BAR also brews their own beer and turns into a club at night.

8/7/09-Sally's Apizza, New Haven, CT

Dan flew in from his business trip and came right to our house so we could go get some good New Haven pizza. Sally's is the only one of the heavy hitters we had yet to try, so we decided to give it a shot. It was still relatively early (530ish) when we got there and there was a party of 6, 8, 2 and 4 waiting for tables when we arrived--not a bad line, not nearly as bad as Pepe's (or so we thought....). We are patient people, really. We waited 45 minutes and in that span of time, only the party of 6 made it inside (the party of 2 gave up). The only people coming in and out of the place were people with takeout--not a good sign. So the boys voted we leave and after waiting nearly an hour and seeing no movement, I was happy to follow.

I would like to try Sally's at some point. Really. Just not anytime soon. See BAR review for our actual dinner experience that night.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

8/1/09-Sweet Claude's Ice Cream, Cheshire, CT

On a quest for great homemade ice cream in the area, we were off to Sweet Claude's. A cute place packed with local kids, the blackboard was filled with ice cream, tofutti, frozen yogurt and sorbet in tons of creative flavors. Tom opted for his usual-Mint Chocolate Chip, while I tried their Dough-Si-Dough -vanilla and chocolate ice cream with chunks of cookie dough and brownies! What a fantastic combination with a nice big scoop packed on top of the cone with a great amount of cookie/brownie chunks. I can't wait to go back!

No website, located on South Main St. in Cheshire.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

7/31/09-O'Porto's, Hartford, CT

Hartford Restaurant Week 2009! I was excited to try something new and O'Porto's was recommended highly--we've never been to a Portugese restaurant, so that was another incentive to trying this place. Although the restaurant may not be in the greatest of neighborhoods, it was definitely worth visiting, especially with the $20.09pp price.

For starters, I had the house salad and Tom had the Camarão Alhinho-sautéed Brazilian shrimp in a garlic butter cream sauce--the shrimp were perfectly cooked and the sauce was thick and rich and great to dip the table bread in! For our entree, we shared the Paelha de Galina e Chouriço - (For Two) - Chicken, Chouriço, and Pork Combined with Saffron Rice--first time paelha for the both of us--the rice was perfectly cooked with a sweet, smoky flavor and juicy chunks of chicken, pork and nice slices of chorizo. The portion was huge, we ended up taking leftovers home. For dessert, Tom had the chocolate mousse and I had the Pudim flan-Chef De Sousa’s Family Recipe for Traditional Portuguese Egg custard with caramel sauce--the mousse was perfect and creamy and the flan was ok but not my favorite. Presentation on all the dishes was excellent and service was friendly and very quick! We would most likely return but I wouldn't pay the regular price for the paelha, as we felt it seemed to be a bit high priced.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

7/26/09-Durham Dari-Serv, Durham, CT

Summer is made for ice cream and this place just screams summertime to me! Long lines that move pretty quickly, good quality homemade ice cream and a cow statue out front! Tom had a chocolate milkshake and he said the consistency was just perfect, while I enjoyed their Moose Tracks ice cream on a cone--rich, creamy with just the right amount of fudge tracks and mini peanut butter cups swirled throughout. No doubt that we'll be making a few return visits before the season is over!

No website, located on Main St. in Durham.

7/26/09-Modern Apizza, New Haven, CT

I have a love affair with New Haven pizza--I think it's fantastic. There really is no other pizza that comes close. My only problem is, I cannot decide which pizza place I like better--Modern or Pepe's. We went Sunday night nice and early to beat the dinner rush to get a pie and ohhhh was it good. A nice, simple pepperoni pizza is how we roll--charred perfectly on the bottom, cheesy, grease-dripping-down-your-forearm goodness. Service was quick and friendly and we couldn't have been more satisfied after our dinner.

Tom prefers Pepe's. I prefer Modern. So we rotate each time we get pizza between our two faves!

Friday, July 17, 2009

7/16/09-Gaetano's Tavern on Main, Wallingford, CT

Stopped here for dinner before heading to Guilford--we've been here once before, but decided to give it another try--I don't think we'll be returning.

We arrived just before 6pm and the place was dead except for a private party in the back room. The restaurant has a strange garden-like decor theme but it gives an overall awkward kind of feel. They do have an outdoor sidewalk patio, which would be a good option on a nice day. For our meals, I ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich (a thin grilled chicken breast dipped in buffalo sauce, with cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato) with sweet potato fries--the roll was unfortunately soggy by the time i got my sandwich but the fries were pretty good. Tom ordered Lillian's chicken--chicken with 2 shrimp, garlic, tomatoes in a sauce over bowtie pasta--he felt like dish was promising but didn't deliver the flavors he expected. Overall, we were pretty disappointed with our dinners. This place might be more appealing if the prices were lower--I felt that the dishes were way overpriced and didn't really seem to reflect the feel of the restaurant. Michael's Trattoria, which is across the street, has comparable prices and a far better atmosphere and food--you are much better off going there for a nice dinner in the center of Wallingford.

Monday, July 6, 2009

7/4/09-Bobby's Burger Palace @ Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT

Day trip to the Sun! We took a lovely, rain-free drive out to Mohegan to do a little shopping, walking around and dining at Mohegan's newest establishment, Bobby's Burger Palace. A franchise of Bobby Flay's newest creation, it is a small nook with a brightly colored retro diner feel but with much more creative burger options. The menu is limited, as would be expected by the name of the restaurant but that is exactly what he is going for here--a good, American burger joint complete with onion rings, french fries and milkshakes. The burgers on the menu are straight out of his latest cookbook (of which we've tried a few with great success) so we decided on this visit to try two that we had not as of yet attempted to make. Tom ordered the Miami Burger--pressed with ham, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and mayo--the burger is smaller than what you would recieve at Red Robin or another burger joint but aside from that, it was juicy and the toppings were quite good, especially the gooey swiss cheese. I ordered the Dallas Burger which is spice encrusted with BBQ sauce, monterey jack cheese, pickles and coleslaw (which I omitted)--this was the clear winner between us--the BBQ sauce had a nice sweet & smokey flavor (and I now will have to try and replicate it with the recipe in the book). We also shared an order of the regular french fries (plenty to split between the both of us and tastes as good as the version we've made at home) and it was served with his signature fry sauce (not sure on the ingredients, but horseradish must be one of them--very good). There were also an array of other sauces on the table to try, my favorite being the chipotle ketchup--just a slight kick to it, nice flavor. Tom and I also split a black and white milkshake--it is not like the one I had at Steak and Shake unfortunately (S&S makes fabulous milkshakes, too bad its not available on the east coast!). The milkshake might as well have been a chocolate shake--I guess it was just not what I was expecting--also, you may be accustomed to being served the silver mixing glass with your poured glass of milkshake but that is not the case here so that was a bit of a letdown. In all, good experience--would most likely return if looking for a quick bite to eat.

Note: we were informed of their "no tipping" policy as we were placing our orders before we went to find our seats--not sure why they have that policy, yet have a line on your credit card slip for a tip. Also, as with any food joint at the casino, the lines can get long--I would not wait in it any longer than the entrance to it (at that point, you can expect to be waiting in line approx. 20 minutes).

7/3/09-Rita's, Southington, CT

After dinner we needed to run a few errands and on the way to my parent's house and decided to stop and get dessert. This place is always hopping in the summer with a great selection of water ices and custard creations. I had a small vanilla/chocolate swirl custard and Tom had a small chocolate custard--we both enjoyed them--a nice cool, creamy texture with a thicker and richer taste than soft serve. I can't stop at Rita's without bringing my dad home a lemon ice and I brought my mom a small vanilla custard. My dad's favorite summer treat is their lemon ice and my mother had never had their custard but she enjoyed it! There are lots of flavors for the adventerous but I do believe the basics are the best.

7/3/09-El Sombrero, Southington, CT

In need of a good Mexican fix, we headed for a nice quick dinner at El Sombrero. It's a family owned joint and the food has always been good, especially their chips and salsa--very fresh, nice cilantro flavor. Tom and I were both eyeing the "Quatro" dish so we decided to do an order of that and to try something new--Puerco Adobo. The Quatro had a chicken chimichanga, beef taco and cheese enchilada with sides of rice and beans. The Puerco Adobo was slices of pork tenderloin cooked in their adobo sauce--very tasty but not as hot and spicy as I had expected. Overall, very satisfied with our meals--I could come here all the time and not be bored! The live mariachis were playing, as is customary on Friday and Saturday nights and they are great especially if you have kids because they'll play their favorites like the Sponge Bob theme song. I think Tom and I are going to make a greater effort to come here more often for our mexican fix and continue to try new dishes.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

6/27/09-Ruby Tuesday's, Meriden, CT

Went to the mall to check out wedding bands and stopped here for dinner (sign up for their emails--you'll get a coupon for BOGO entree). It has been quite a while since we've eaten here and their menu has changed quite a bit and that is definitely not a bad thing. Both of us opted for steak dinners--Tom ordered the Cowboy Ribeye-"A 12-ounce cut with secret seasonings, seared to perfection then topped with blue cheese crumbles, crisp onion straws, and our house-made steak sauce with a touch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager"-with a caesar salad to start and white cheddar mashed potatoes and broccoli on the side. Although good in size, he did not care for the caesar as it was too heavily dressed over spring mix salad with diced tomatoes (what happened to romaine?). The steak was cooked to his liking but as much as a blue cheese lover that he is, he found that the melted mess of it on top of his steak was just not as appetizing as it should have been. The mashed potatoes were very good with a nice subtle cheddar flavor. For my entree I had the Top Sirloin with a baked potato and broccoli on the side with their salad bar to start. The salad bar was nicely stocked (not as good as Dakota's but it'll do!) with a good selection of items to choose from. My sirloin was cooked medium and was seasoned nicely.

Overall, a good value. Would return with the help of a coupon, of course!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

6/10/09-Shady Glen, Manchester, CT

Went out to dinner tonight with an old friend and decided to bring him here since I have not been here in years myself and I knew he would enjoy it. A very cute, retro diner feel--it's like you stepped back into the 50's--with a nice friendly waitstaff to go with the family-friendly vibe. My friend took a cue from me and we both ordered the special--the "Bernice Platter"--a cheeseburger grilled with fried cheese wings all around it. Although the cheese itself may not be the tastiest I've ever had and the burger itself is average, it certainly is the most unique burger I've met. The platter also came with french fries and lettuce and tomato to top our burgers and the waitress brought over a caddy of condiments for our liking. We were both stuffed after our dinners that we did not get to enjoy their wonderful ice cream but I can tell ya from experience that the quality is superb. A definite great place to go for a casual outing with some good friends.

No website, located on Middle Tpke. East in Manchester.

Friday, June 12, 2009

6/12/09-Wentworth's Ice Cream, Wallingford, CT

A nice comfortable evening, great for a walk downtown to get a cool treat. Tom and I took a walk down to the sister location of this local ice cream joint to get our favorites--I had a cup of chocolate chip cookie dough with their fantastic homemade whipped cream and Tom had a cup of their mint chocolate chip--both were very creamy and sweet, just perfect on a night like tonight.

Incidentally, while we were there, trying to get up to the counter to see the menu selections, a family was taking up all the counter space and the young girl behind the counter nicely asked the father to move down a bit so the people coming in could see the menu--he had a fit and spouted off to the girl, which was completely uncalled for and then him and his clown shoes stormed out. All of us around the the counter reassured the girl that the guy was a jerk and she was doing the right thing and didn't deserve to be treated that way. While we were enjoying our ice cream outside we saw the man and his family step into a brand new Mercedes--hmm maybe someone thinks he's entitled?? Lesson observed--be nice to the help, they are doing a job like the rest of us.

No website, on Center St. in Wallingford

6/6/09-Black Eyed Sally's, Hartford, CT

DMB night#2, this time with Miss Sunny!! Had an awesome time reconnecting with an old friend!

We grabbed a light dinner before the show and thankfully we were both thinking about getting the same things so we were able to share. We sat out on the sidewalk patio since the weather was so perfect out and Sunny started with a Blue Moon while I enjoyed the 'Southern Slam' which was nice and fruity and went down smooth. A small basket of cornbread was brought to us--I am a sucker for cornbread and this one was nice and moist! For our dinner, we split the Pulled Chicken Quesadilla--Hand pulled chicken, smoked cheddar, cherry peppers, sour cream & salsa--just the right amount of heat for me! We also split the Chopped Salad with shrimp skewers--Mixed greens with cukes, tomatoes, roasted red onions, blue cheese, toasted pecans and a honey Balsamic vinaigrette--found out after we ordered that we both do not like blue cheese so next time, we'll do feta :)

Good service with great company and an even better evening! Would definitely recommend and cannot wait to go back and try their southern specialties.

6/5/09-Hardware City Tavern, New Britain, CT

Continuing my party weekend, Kirstin and I got dinner here before heading to see DMB. They have recently changed their menu and brought back some old favorites that were previously discontinued. To celebrate, for starters, we had the honey mustard wings and the peanut butter wings (I know, the peanut butter wings sound gross but trust us--they are fantastic!). For our dinners, Kirstin had the portabella sandwich served on a ciabatta roll with fries--she said she really liked it, especially the huge pieces of sundried tomatoes that adorned it! I had the grilled chicken sandwich on a ciabatta roll with the "wing" sauce of my choice--Icky (bbq, honey and buffalo)--served with fries--very good, nice big piece of chicken. I also had a Snickers martini, which had quite the interesting taste to it and Kirstin had a Stella.

Service was very friendly and quick. Great start to an awesome night!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

6/4/09-Sakimura, Meriden, CT

Worst day of work ever! When I got home, I said to Tom that we were not cooking--we were going out! We did it up--started with a scorpion bowl and it was amazing (and I drank it by myself)! Then we started with Tatsuta Age (japanese version of chicken fingers) and it was served with a sesame sauce--very tasty! For our entrees, Tom ordered sushi--eel/cucumber/avocado, shrimp cucumber, tuna roll and eel sushi. I ordered the beef teryaki which was served over sliced marinated onion with white rice--very good, loved the sweet flavor of their sacue. All the dishes were very artfully prepared. The place is very sleek and modern looking (the tree painting on the wall is from Pier One!) and the staff was very helpful and attentive. A great dinner after a really terrible day!

5/29/09-Calypso Creamery Cafe, Middletown, CT

After dinner at La Boca with Jeremy and Amanda, we walked down the street to what we thought was Praline's to get ice cream for dessert--lo and behold, it had changed! The new Calypso Creamery is now designed like a tiki hut but has the same concept as the old place. Both Amanda and I had small scoops of ice cream, which were good (they are still making their own ice cream) but the boys ordered chocolate shakes with chocolate sprinkles and both were very disappointed! There seemed to be far too much milk in the shakes, ruining the consistency. Next time we'll hit up Durham Dari-Serv!

Main St., Middletown

Friday, May 22, 2009

5/19/09-Marlborough Tavern, Marlborough, CT

After a fabulous consultation with the florist for the wedding (It's So Ranunculus in Marlborough--support her business! She's wonderful!) we walked over to the Marlborough Tavern for dinner. We were the first and only dining room patrons at 530pm (another party arrived as we were settling our check) and the entire feel of the place was cemented in their history, from the wooden floors to the paintings and fireplaces. After starting with nice warm bread with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip, we moved on to our entrees--Tom had the Roasted Half Duck, semi-boned with a cranberry-orange sauce--he said the duck itself was nice and tender, but felt that the sauce was a bit bland. I had the Veal Picatta with a lemon-butter and caper sauce, which was well-executed and was a decent portion size even though it was their "light fare" menu selection.

While this restaurant may be a nice choice to take parents to, for example, I would say that I would stop here if we were in town or had another dining offer as we did tonight but wouldn't go out of my way to dine here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

5/9/09-New Britain Diner, New Britain, CT

I am a big fan of this diner--have been coming here sporadically for years. The food is always good, fresh and plentiful. After quite the adventure in participating at the CT Race in the Park (what a turnout! Thousands of people participated in the race against breast cancer!) Kirstin, her younger sister and I went to the diner to grab lunch. I got their honey mustard grilled chicken wrap with cheese, lettuce, tomato and steak fries--probably one of my favorite things to get! Kirstin agreed I was onto something and had the honey mustard chicken sandwich--it was huge! Kirstin's sister had a bacon cheeseburger with fries. We all had a great meal, and a really good time after such a productive day!

No website, located on Corbin Ave. in New Britain.

5/6/09-Gold Burger, Newington, CT

Our apologies for the lack of posting as of late--Tom had back surgery, so things have been a bit difficult around here. Hopefully we will be posting more soon. (Suggestions, anyone?)

I had to go up to Newington for a training session so I met up with my buddy Dan for dinner beforehand. Right in the center of Newington is Gold Burger--relatively new and definitely needed in this town! The owner was right at the counter, ready to help us out--very friendly! GoldBurger was surprisingly fresh, juicy and very nicely done. You can order your burger by a number of patties with quite the list of toppings--they also offer burger creations, hot dogs, onion rings and fries. I ordered a single burger with mayo, lettuce, cheddar, bacon and their "goldburger sauce" (which reminded me of the McDonald's Big Mac sauce) and a side of fries. They have fresh ground beef everyday, and nicely done fresh cut french fries perfectly seasoned with kosher salt. Everything was served straight-up in a bag--no frills. Dan and I grabbed our orders and ate "al fresca" out on the sidewalk outside the storefront.

I would definitely return--a way better option than any fast food joint.

No website, located on Main St. in Newington.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

4/4/09-Bricco, West Hartford, CT

I really do love West Hartford--the amount of really good restaurants in this town astounds me. Today, I had the luxury of trying yet another--Bricco. Met up with a friend I haven't seen in a good number of years--it was nice to reconnect. We had both heard that Bricco was good and she is the type of person that enjoys the finer things in life like lunch at a nice restaurant, so off we went. Cute decor, with a very warm, classy feeling to the place. We had the crispy fried calamari w/ lemon caper aioli & spicy tomato sauce to start--very good, with nice dipping sauces. Sheri had the rustichella d'abruzzo rigatoni bolognese w/ classic meat sauce, fresh ricotta & grated nutmeg which she really enjoyed (ahh, comfort food!) and I had the special--homemade cavatelli with broccoli rabe and a hot sausage--just the right amount of kick, very flavorful. Sheri then topped her meal off with a double espresso (I don't think I'll ever get into coffee!).

Had a great time catching up on old times and our current lives (thanks for experiencing a new one with me!). Maybe I'll have a new partner in my restaurant adventures!

Friday, April 3, 2009

4/3/09-Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, CT

The original. The best. The one you have to try. Pizza so good, you are licking up the grease as it drips down your arm. All these phrases are things that Tom and I (and now Dan!) experience when we visit this legendary place.

Dan's first visit here tonight, so we pulled out the stops and ordered a large pepperoni and a large white clam pizza. The pepperoni is the favorite for Tom and I but Dan really enjoyed the white clam pizza (I am not a fan of clams and Tom liked it but would rather stick with the pepperoni--he just didn't feel that the white clam pizza lived up to the hype.) Piping hot, greasy, cheesy and covered in toppings, the three of us just about polished it all! In short, this is a historical restaurant with a great neighborhood vibe that any foodie should move to the top of their list of places to visit before they die.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

4/1/09-Francescos Pizzeria & Restaurant, Suffield, CT

Out to lunch with the best salesman ever after a day of touring job sites and spending a little time with my boys. We stopped at Francescos--one of the places he frequents (the waitress, Anna, knew his name!). On recommendation, he suggested their grinders so I had the Veal Parmigiana grinder and he had their Meatball grinder--both very good. Quick friendly service--Anna was such a sweetheart! Nice neighborhood restaurant, good for a quick stop in.

No website, located on Rt. 168 in Suffield.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

3/28/09-Margaritaville @ Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT

What a day trip! We started at Priam Vineyards in Colchester ( which had some very nice people and decent wine--good selection and nice souvenier glasses to take with us. During our tasting, a woman was asking my opinion on wines to serve at a shower which lead into a story how she was pairing Priam's wines with cheeses from a farm down the street which she reccomended we check out--Cato Corner Farm--this was the highlight of the trip ( We tried all the cheeses they had out and it just amazed me how good they were. We purchased their "Bloomsday" chese--excellent. After this stop, it was off to Heritage Trail Vineyards ( want to come back here to get dinner. Very cute place with a big emphasis on using locally produced items, which is just fantastic.

After all this excitement, we went to Mohegan Sun to walk around a bit and grab dinner. We decided on Margaritaville ( I do love Jimmy Buffett!) and had a great time. I started with their "License to Chill" margarita and then had the Jerk Chicken--not spicy at all like I had hoped for, but moist and flavorful and overall tasty. Tom had the Jambalaya--he definitely enjoyed it because his plate was cleaned! He noted that this did not seem to have the typical pre-made frozen prepared foods like other chain restaurants and that was a nice change. Great atmosphere and a super nice waitress made for a great ending to a great day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

3/12/09-First and Last Tavern, Avon, CT

Very unusual for us to go out to dinner during the week but since we were in the area and had a gift certificate that could only be used during the week, we decided to change it up a bit. Nice local restaurant group with a few locations around the state, its got good italian food and pizza. We started with their fried mozzarella and it's one of the best I've had--nice and fresh mozz triangles with a very good red sauce. The restaurant was wicked busy when we got there at 745pm and there was more evidence of that when our waitress, Shelley(she was awesome!) told us that she actually got called in an hour ago because the restaurant was so unexpectedly busy and she offered us soup and salad on the house since our dinners would be a while. I had the house salad and Tom had their creamy tomato basil soup--I now have to attempt to replicate this soup because it was so damn good. Warm & toasty focaccia bread was brought to us as well which was excellent. For our entrees, I enjoyed the Veal Parmigiana--big portions, served over penne--just what I was craving! Tom had Cioppino--Shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, calamari, sauteed with garlic, simmered in Marinara sauce over linguine--he thoroughally enjoyed his dish. We've been here before and we'll defintely come back--a nice mid week treat.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

3/7/09-Liuzzi Cheese, North Haven, CT

Needed to pick up a few things to make our famous pizzas tonight for dinner so we went out here for lunch. I ordered an Italian combo on a hard roll--nice good bread and store made sopressatta with ham, salami, lettuce and tomato. When we got up to the counter to order (this place was busy!! we waited 10 min in line!) there was a HUGE sandwich on display that had fresh mozz, sopressatta, ham, prociutto, tomato, lettuce on a nice big ciabatta bread--Tom says to the girl behind the counter, "I want whatever that is." "All of it?" "Yep, all of it." "Can I cut it in half and wrap the halves seperately?" That's how big this damn thing was. I am glad to say he only ate half and it was very good.

This Italian market has a great selection of premade foods, prepared foods, deli meats and lots of cheeses. I want to come back here another day when its not so busy so I can just poke around.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2/28/09-Rustic Oak, North Haven, CT

Nice hometown restaurant with the greatest fireplace! For me, it only feels appropriate to come here in the winter when they have the fire going. Eating here is like eating with your family on holidays--a menu filled with your average comfort food. With every entree, you have access to their salad bar which is complete with bread and two soups (we had their chicken noodle, which was filled with vegetables). For Tom's entree, he had the "Hunter's Steak" which was wrapped in bacon and served with a demi glace over it and a baked potato on the side. I had the Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops with a baked potato. We both enjoyed our dinners. The fireplace really does make this place feel very comfortable.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2/21/09-Cafe Ra, Wallingford, CT

After Tom got out of work, we went out to do errands and stopped here for a quick lunch. Really cute place with a nice comfortable feel. Tom has been here a bunch of times and got his usual--#16 Turkey Club Wrap…Turkey, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo--he describes this wrap as being refreshing with crisp lettuce and bacon. I ordered #15 Philly Steak and Cheese with Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo--this came nice and warm with the cheese melted into the meat. Both came with good pickle spears and we also had chips.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

2/20/09-T.G.I. Friday's, Hamden, CT

If you don't know, there is a coupon on TGI Friday's website for buy one entree, get one free--only good till March, so hurry! It is a good deal and the only reason we went here for dinner. Actually, an experience at Friday's a few years back is what got me on this path of trying non-chain restaurants and it was the best thing for me. Tom was one of the electricians on the job when Friday's was renovating and I couldn't believe it when he told me most of the food they serve is microwaved. Not long after, we were out to dinner for my sisters birthday and I had ordered a double-decker quesadilla but had asked that they go easy on the peppers--that's when the waitress told me that it came frozen and premade so they would be unable to do that--I was horrified. Has this what American has come down to? Frozen, prepared food? From then on, I decided that whenever possible, I was going to avoid the chain restaurants and give my hard-earned money to those who cook great meals using their ingenuity, skills, fresh ingredients, not already prepared dishes. This is not to say that I will never go to these places--on occasion I will go (and yes, the coupons do help) but there are so many other amazing places to try and different foods to experience.

I digress.

For our entrees, I was told that the ribs were not available because they had to cook (what?!) so I had the Jack Daniel's sirloin with a side of french fries--steak was glazed with the Jack sauce which is nice and tangy--no veggies on my plate though--seems as if the portions were scaled back a bit. Tom had the Bruchetta Chicken Pasta, which he enjoyed. For dessert, we ordered the Brownie Explosion, which was good, but not as good as i remember. The brownie was not warmed and there was a bit of a lack of presentation, but maybe I expect too much. In all, a good deal, but we wouldn't even had gone if it wasn't for the coupon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2/13/09-La Boca, Middletown, CT

Thankfully, with a little windfall and a coupon, we were able to head out to dinner after a long week. Fueling our love for Mexican food, we stopped off at La Boca and had a great time! Tom started with a Sam Adams and I had a margarita on the rocks with El Tesoro tequila--very good. Chips and salsa was brought to us and we'd say its one of the better salsas we've had--sweet in the beginning, a bit of heat at the end. For our entrees, Tom had the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo--shrimp sauteed with green onions, garlic, olive oil and mexican spices served over mexican rice--very tasty. I had the #1 La Boca Ultimate--beef chimichanga, cheese enchilada, potato empanada and a chicken tostada all served over mexican rice--definitely satisfied my cravings for mexican! We'll be back!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

2/7/09-Vinny's Deli, Wallingford, CT

Tom and I stopped here for a quick lunch while doing errands today. They have approx. 50 sandwich creations and you can also make your own. They roast their own turkey and roast beef, both of which are very good. I had the #2 The Fonzi--Chicken breast topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and honey mustard and Tom had the #12 Sophia Loren--Turkey with prosciutto, lettuce, tomato and mayo. The best part about this hometown deli is that everything they carry is Made in the USA--that's something to be proud of.

Monday, February 2, 2009

2/1/09-Neil's Donuts & Bakeshop, Wallingford, CT

We don't do this very often, but we gave into our sweet spot this morning--donuts from Neil's. This place is a little piece of heaven wrapped up in chocolate sprinkles. On any given day, he has about 30 different kinds, from old-fashioned cake donuts to cream and fruit filled (they actually make an incision and spread the filling inside) to my favorite--chocolate sprinkled. Now that I live near a place like this, I'll never get Dunkin Donuts again. They also have great breakfast sandwiches and bakery items (everything we've had is soooo good!).

No website--on Rt. 150 in the Yalesville section of Wallingford.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

1/31/09-The Russell, Hartford, CT

Met here with a group of friends for my old roomate Lisette sisters birthday party. Our lovely hostess Lisette planned a menu for everyone to enjoy! We all started with The Russell salad--mixed baby greens, grilled pineapple, plum tomatoes, pink grapefruit and croutons tossed in a tropical fruit vinaigrette--the dressing was amazing! We then all dove into Coconut Shrimp served with an orange marmalade sauce and Jerk Chicken Wings served with a pineapple mango dip. For dessert, we were brough slices of chocolate cake and strawberry cheesecake. For drinks, I had the Caribbean Romance (jamaican rum, amaretto, pineapple/cranberry/orange juices) and I also had their Mango Mojito--both very good. What a wonderful party! Very cozy space with a dj spinning the best throwback R&B songs around. I would love to come back here another time! Thank you Lisette for a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Links are Fixed!

I didn't realize I coded all the links to the restaurants incorrectly, but they are working now! Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

1/24/09-Kumo Japanese Restaurant, Hamden, CT

My parents mentioned that they haven't been out to dinner with us in a while, so they told us to pick a place and off we would go. While doing a little investigating, I found that they have never been to a hibachi so we thought it would be fun to take them to Kumo. We had been there previously, so we knew what to expect. This is one place that is pretty busy! Upon arrival, the waiter took our orders (Mom had salmon and chicken, Dad had steak, Tom had steak and shrimp and I had steak and chicken) and we were brought clear soup and a small salad with ginger dressing to start. After, our chef arrived and the "show" began. He was very entertaining, from doing the japanese egg roll to the volcano of onions and attempting to throw veggies in our mouths ( I did not catch one!) and then shots of saki for all of us (go mom and dad! I didn't expect them to do the saki!) Dinner was done shortly thereafter and it was good. I think my parents had a good time and we did, as always.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

1/23/08-Lenny and Joe's Fishtale, Westbrook, CT

I have lots of fond memories of this place--once a year, we would travel down to this restaurant with my grandfather because it was one of his favorite restaurants. Tom and I ended up here on our anniversary a few years ago and it was his first visit then-now he sees why my family loves it so much. When we are looking for good seafood, we'll now go here. Although this place is so packed in the summertime, at 8pm on a Friday night in the middle of winter, it wasn't bad at all! Tom chose their special of the evening-Baked Stuffed Shrimp with a ritz cracker/crab/monterey jack stuffing and fries and coleslaw. I had their hot buttered lobster roll with fries (In all the years that I have been coming to this restaurant, this is the first time I ordered a seafood item! My mom will be proud of me, I'm sure.) Service was quick and friendly and Tom and I enjoyed our evening and our dinner together. We'll be coming here every year for a long time, I'm sure of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

1/17/09-Hook & Ladder, Hartford, CT

I really do appreciate what this restaurant is doing for us emergency service workers by paying homage to what we do, but sad to say, they really need to work on the food! Tom and I grabbed dinner before heading out with friends and I started with the house special Ladder 54 martini, which was the best part of my meal! I then had the Sparky's Steak Special--6 oz. pepper encrusted steak served with mac & cheese--the steak was tiny, as stated, but good flavor but the mac & cheese was nothing remarkable. Tom had the Hoga Fish and Chips--Fresh beer battered cod, deep fried to a golden brown, served with fries & cole slaw--he cut into the piece of fish, then stated "Where's the fish?!" It was practically all fried batter! They also placed the fish on top of the fries, which then made them greasy and soggy. Overall, a big disappointment, from the taste to portion size and presentation, nothing was impressive. They were also out of key menu items such as hot dogs and the cornbread that was supposed to come with every dish--poor planning for a Saturday night service. The waitress was not very friendly or helpful (she got my order wrong and messed up the bill) and there were discontented patrons all around us--from an older couple who was seated before us and didn't get their burgers till after we were done with our meals to a party that had to keep getting the waitress to remind her of things that were wrong with their meals or forgotten. Skip this one, there's much better places to eat in Hartford.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

1/10/09-Dakota Steakhouse, Rocky Hill, CT

Took a short drive to have the best salad bar we've ever found. From the chilled salad plates, cleanliness and large selection of fresh salad accompaniments, this restaurant can't be beat. We both enjoyed the salad bar and Tom also had a cup of their Lobster Bisque, which he liked. We also split the Prime Rib sandwich which we found to be very flavorful, especially when dipped in the au jus or the horseradish sauce. Good chain restaurant with a log cabin like feel, deer heads on the walls and roaring fireplaces. We have been here for dinner in the past and have enjoyed their steaks as well. We've heard good things about their brunch but have yet to make it here to try it. Also picked up a jar of their signature Maple Pepper seasoning--very unique, but somewhat expensive at $7.95.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1/3/09-The Corner Pug, West Hartford, CT

On our way to the Thomas Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield (which I highly recommend--tons of fun, informational and where else can you go on a Saturday afternoon, spend $5, get all the beer tasting you can handle and get to keep the glass?!) we stopped for lunch at the Corner Pug--very ladi back and chill restaurant with a bar you could definitely meet your friends at and feel totally at home. We decided to give this place a try after seeing a show on the Travel Channel having to do with nachos and there is a place that had Irish Nachos that looked fantastic and then Dan tells us that this place has them too! We definitely wanted to try them, so we did--" Crispy Cottage Fries with Beef Beer and Sausage chili, Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes, Scallions and Cherry Peppers"--bring some friends to share these with! The chili is very good, with an almost sweet taste and the chips were just loaded with it! Tom then had the Philly Cheeseburger with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese sauce and I had the Pug House Salad-garden greens with tomatoes, red onion, granny smith apples, cucumber, croutons and english blue cheese crumbles tossed in their house dressing. We both needed take home boxes after that lunch! Overall, a nice stop for lunch and a great value.