Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3/26/10-La Fonda Colombian Cuisine, Hartford, CT

We were in the mood for something different before the Wolfpack game on Friday night, so we went through our certificates and decided on La Fonda--so glad we did!

The neighborhoods of Hartford leave lots to be desired, but this south end location isn't too bad (at least I wasn't scurrrrred). It is a little place--blink and you'll miss it! We found some on the street parking and went inside. Our waitress spoke a little English, I spoke a little Spanish and soon we had our drinks and we ordered one beef and one chicken empanada to start. The empanadas arrived piping hot with a spicy tomato-based dipping sauce to try--they were fantastic! We wished we ordered more of them--and at $1.25 each, it's a steal. We had a bit of a language barrier when I asked what an "arepa" was, but the waitress sent over a gentleman who was more than happy to help out. We decided we were definitely going to try one, so we picked one with shredded chicken--the arepa was, hands down, the best part of the meal--it is a flatbread made of a different style of corn, topped with the shredded chicken, diced tomatoes and peppers. It was unbelieveably flavorful and we are so glad we tried it!

For our entrees, I tried the typical La Fonda plate--red beans, white rice, chopped ground beef, grilled pork, sausage, grilled plaintains, all topped with a fried egg. I enjoyed being able to try a bit of everything, but it was a bit dry unfortunately, with the exception of the sausage with the flavors of cumin--excellent. Tom had the churrasco, which came with rice and beans and the chimichurri sauce--a huge piece of steak! The chimichurri sauce gave the steak an incredible flavor.

Overall, we had a good experience. Our waitress was pleasant and we were glad to try something much different than the norm. We hope to come back soon!

No website, located on Franklin Ave. in Hartford.

Monday, March 15, 2010

3/13/10-Big Daddy's Diner, NYC, NY

Road Trip to NYC!

We probably came to the city on the worst weather day of the year, really, especially considering the way the buildings funnel the wind and rain! At any rate, we had a few hours to kill before going to our final destination so we decided to grab dinner after snagging a parking spot a few blocks away. There was a bit of construction outside of the building (go figure) but inside was a retro-feel diner with tons of corporate logos adorning the walls.

Even if we don't plan on it, Tom and I usually end up splitting our dishes and today was no exception. As soon as he saw my order, he wanted half and I was more than happy to oblige when I saw what he got! I had the Jackie Brown-roast beef, melted Vermont cheddar, caramelized onions and bbq sauce on rustic ciabatta--I am pretty sure this was one of the messiest sandwiches ever but overall it wasn't bad, a bit too salty for my taste and didn't really care for the bbq sauce that was used. Tom had the Join the Club-roasted turkey, thick bacon, lettuce, tomatoes & herb mayo on toasted ciabatta--his sandwich was the clear winner for us. Dan had the Texas Tommy hot dog, covered in bacon and melted cheddar and spicy ketchup--it was huge! (that's what she said.) Jill had a burger with tater tots and coleslaw and a side of cheese for dipping--we're pretty sure the cheese was made with plastic by the looks of it. Everyone seemed pretty satisfied after our meal and we were ready for our trip back out in the rain to our destination. The unfortunate thing about the diner was the NYC prices--in CT, the same dishes would have been about $3-$4 cheaper.

www.bigdaddysnyc.com (we were at the East Side location)

3/13/10-Savin Rock Roasting Company, Stratford, CT

We were out in Stratford getting my car looked at and we decided to grab a quick lunch before getting our other errands done. Savin Rock Roasting Company has an excellent location on Ferry Rd. right before the bridge in Stratford with lovely views of the water and nice outdoor deck--not too nice for the constant downpour we had on Saturday! It was very large inside, with 2 bars and plenty of tables and the decor was quite nice--would be a nice place to come hang out in the summertime!

Our server was pleasant and helpful--I couldn't decide what to order between the Chicken Monte or the Beef & Cheddar sandwiches (such a large menu!) and she recommended the Chicken Monte--grilled chicken layered with ham, cheese, tomato and honey mustard, griddled. Her choice was excellent and with the added side of their french fries, it rounded it all out--you could tell their fries were freshly made, even better with a side of the honey mustard that graced my sandwich. Tom was in the mood for fish and chips, so he had a half order of the fresh scrod--he very much enjoyed the fact that there was a very nice portion, served with both tartar sauce and cocktail sauce and a side of coleslaw and french fries.

We both enjoyed our lunches and agreed that we'd like to return, especially when the weather is nicer! (For those who know Stratford, this is the old Harborside--they have a big Grand Opening sign on the building--check 'em out!)


Monday, March 8, 2010

3/6/10-Carson's, Newington, CT

We were a bit sad to see Hops go (love their honey drizzled croissants!) but we were very happy to see how well Carson's is doing. We arrived fairly late, due to my work schedule and were seated promptly. Tom was excited to try their in-house brewed beers and ordered the Carson's Light--said that it had a great flavor and went down smooth. I am not a beer person, but my Tropical Breeze was fruity.

For an appetizer, we had the calamari and it was hot and plentiful--got a really nice portion for the price. As for our entrees, I was really hoping to have their baby back ribs, but they were out of them, so I went with the Pulled Pork Sandwich, topped with french fried onions and a side of garlic fries--the sandwich was excellent, not over-sauced like some places but my fries must have been the bottom of a batch because, while they were VERY garlicky, they were also soggy. Tom had the petite sirloin and shrimp with a side of garlic fries. He was very happy with everything he had (and incidentally, his garlic fries were not soggy like mine).

We were far too stuffed to have desserts, especially since we had leftovers to take home! Service was friendly and everything went well. I can safely say we will be more than happy to return!

No website, located on the Berlin Tpke. in Newington.

Monday, March 1, 2010

2/28/10-MJ Dukes, Wallingford, CT

A new place opened up a few weeks ago and we've been curious to try it. MJ Dukes is touting "Philly-Style Cheesesteaks" that are the real deal--having been to Philly a few times and never having stopped at the originals, I couldn't compare. With that, we were off to grab some lunch. Tom decided on the original with grilled onion and cheese whiz and I had the chicken philly with grilled onions and american cheese--both of ours were 9" for $6.95 each. The roll was good and the meat/cheese/onions all worked together nicely--that being said, it was pretty skimpy on the meat for the price we paid. It was nice to see that most things on the menu were made in-house and your sandwiches were cooked to order. Tom agrees-we'll probably return at a later date, if only because we live in town but we feel that you get more for your money at D'Angelo's.

No website, located on Rt. 5 in Wallingford.

2/27/10-Crown Fried Chicken, Bridgeport, CT

The advantages of working outside of the area where I live is being able to try places I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way for. Crown was the place one of my crew members wanted to stop for lunch while in the area. I honestly can say if I was by myself, this wouldn't have been a choice on the list--that being said, the food wasn't all that bad. A KFC-like competitor, it took about 5-10 minutes for us all to get our food--spicy chicken sandwich for me, not too bad! My crew seemed to enjoy what they had as well, since they polished their meals. Not a very attractive place, decently clean, a bit outdated but to be expected considering the area. I can't say I'd return under my own will but it did the job for that day.

No website, located on Boston St. in Bridgeport.

2/27/10-Donut Delight, Stamford, CT

It is really nice to see a DD competitor that seems to do quite well! Stopped here mid-morning with my crew and got a sausage, egg & cheese on a toasted bagel--it has been forever since I've had a bagel sandwich! It was hot, tasty and filling--all you could hope for in the morning! Can't comment on the coffee since I'm not a coffee drinker, but my coworkers all seem to enjoy it. Very fast & efficient service, which are both very important points with a job like mine.

No website, located on Elm St. in Stamford.