Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4/24/10-Tacos Mi Nacho, Meriden, CT

We returned from our lovely afternoon on the shoreline without a plan for dinner. My hubby is always in the mood for Mexican (I'm so proud of him!) and I had heard from Yelp about this place in Meriden. Not in the greatest of neighborhoods, but I didn't think it was as bad as some were making it out to be. It's in a strip mall and has a automatic sliding door like a grocery store with the counter and kitchen right ahead of you and a few tables off to the side, with the music pumping.

We sat right down and were brought chips and 3 different types of salsas--all delicious. I went with tacos for my dinner--one chorizo, one carne asada and one pork and also had a quesadilla with shredded pork--absolutely everything was delicious. Tom had one taco and a carne asada burrito--this thing was a monster. Everything was delicious, prices were amazingly cheap and the food came out fast. Can't get much better than this!

No website, located at 550 Broad St. in Meriden.

4/24/10-Aqua, Clinton, CT

Yay for a Saturday off! We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and head to the shoreline for the afternoon. Without a plan for lunch, I let my phone guide us and I chose Aqua. What a nice location! Right on the Clinton marina, with a nice breeze coming in off the sound. We were seated immediately outside on the patio (a little chilly in the shade!). I decided to keep it fresh and simple for lunch and ordered the barbequed shrimp wrap--with bacon, avocado, lettuce and mayo, it was delish! It came with either fries or coleslaw on the side--I was mistakenly given coleslaw, but that was quickly rectified and a fresh plate of fries were brought out. Tom had the broiled seafood plate, which was good, but disappointing--only 2 shrimp, 2 scallops and a small piece of filet of sole.

We would definitely return, but next time we'd be careful about what we ordered, especially considering we expected more out of Tom's dish for the price! Very nice location, food was tasty and service was friendly, fast & efficient.

4/23/10-East West Grille, West Hartford, CT

Jill was all alone for the evening and asked Tom and I to go out with her to her new favorite Thai restaurant--can't turn that down! East West Grille is in an old diner, which is strange but kinda kitchy, with the decorations and whatnot. Speaking of the decorations--there were hats that were atop the posts of the booths and they were covered in cobwebs--it was gross and creepy. Also, they could use some real shades because we were absolutely blinded by the setting sun!

We were all starving so we started with a few appetizers--thai calamari, which was absolutely deliciously different, basted in a sweet chili sauce; we also had the crispy spring rolls, which had a nice crunch and dipping sauce with it. For our entrees, we waited quite a while, almost too long. I had the drunken noodles, my go to dish when trying any new Thai place--the dish was very nicely presented, not too spicy (I wouldn't have minded it hotter) but the portions were smaller than I expected. Tom had the pad radna, which he enjoyed--it had an almost soup-like presentation. Jill had the pad thai which she always enjoys. Overall, for Tom and I, not a terrible experience, certainly better than a few places we've been to, but can't say we're clamoring to go back.

4/17/10-El Charrito Taco Truck, Stamford, CT

I know, I'm a bit behind on blogging. I have been so swamped with work and school that I barely have time to breathe! I digress.....

So, on this lovely Saturday, I was working in Stamford and my partner mentioned that he was looking for some good Mexican food. After doing a little investigating, I was pointed towards the El Charrito truck. Having a few minutes of downtime right around lunch, we headed to that side of town. The truck is pretty easy to spot, considering it's bright yellow and there's usually a few people milling around, eating their lunch or waiting for their orders. A lovely woman took my order and said it would be a few minutes. They have all the basics--tacos, burritos, tortas, hamburgers and hotdogs (but why would you want those when you can have authentic Mexican food?!). My partner ordered a steak burrito (huge!) and 2 steak tacos. I had 3 tacos--one chorizo, one pollo, one carne adobada--they were all fresh and delicious, double tortillas, garnished with onion and cilantro and a lime wedge to squeeze over it. We also got a few sides of their hot sauce which wasn't too bad, but the heat did sneak up on you after a while! The food came out pretty fast, which is important to us when we are working on the road, transporting patients--most restaurant personnel are aware of that when we stop to get food somewhere in uniform that we need it fairly quickly, never know when our next call is coming!

I implore you, do not be scared or hesitant to eat food off of a truck. A few people have made comments about this when I mentioned where I had lunch and the stereotypes about it are just incorrect, especially in this case. Give this a shot! You won't find nicer people or better authentic Mexican in Stamford, guaranteed.

The truck parks on Richmond Hill Ave. across from Beamer's Cafe in Stamford

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4/13/10-Les' Dairy Bar, Meriden, CT

To top off our mid-week dinner outing, we stopped at Les' for some small hot fudge sundaes. I am not the biggest fan of soft serve but I don't mind coming here! It can get quite crowded in the summer but on a cool, spring evening, there was nothing to worry about. This place is pure nostalgia for Tom, with memories of his childhood, driving down here with the neighborhood piled into his dad's pickup truck so when it comes to ice cream, I am more than happy to oblige a trip down memory lane for him. Nice, creamy vanilla soft serve with a generous coating of hot fudge sauce--heavenly! Oh, and remember--cash only!

No website, located on East Main St. in Meriden.

4/13/10-Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Middletown, CT

Mid-week out to dinner treat! Tom had been talking about having burgers at some point this week so when he mentioned going out for dinner, I was happy to oblige his burger craving and his curiosity about this new chain. Very bright on the inside with the red and white theme playing through the whole space, accented with huge bags of potatoes by the entrance and boxes of peanuts for self-service.

We got in the line to order and we both ordered one burger and fries--mine were Cajun, his were regular fries. I found an open table and snagged it while Tom waited for our number to be called. Your food comes in a brown paper bag, regardless of whether or not you eat in or take out. Service was very quick and efficient. Burgers came as double patties, which we didn't expect, but it wasn't a bad surprise--unfortunately, they only cook the burgers well-done. I understand that is done for health reasons, but I do prefer mine pink in the middle. I would say that it is a better fast food burger than other national chains, but it was just as greasy and bad for me, I'm sure of that. In the bag was a cup that held our fries but there almost wasn't a point of even having a cup for them since the servers just took a handful and chucked it into the bag on top of filling the cup, leaving the grease from the fries to come right through the bag. We agreed that my cajun fries were good but it would have been nice if the seasoning was distributed more evenly.

I understand that they grind the meat fresh everyday and they use fresh cut potatoes, not frozen--while I applaud them for that, it translates to high prices for mediocre food (my stomach is not liking me this morning). It was a decent quick stop and I'm glad we gave it a shot but ultimately, I'll stick with the non-chain restaurants for our burger fixes.

4/10/10-Fu Ji Japanese-Chinese Restaurant, Stamford, CT

At work for a very long shift on Saturday, this place was recommended by a coworker when I said I could go for some Thai food. Hmmm. Needless to say, I didn't get Thai food, but my partner was more than happy with where we ended up! This place is small-ish but nice and clean looking. For a Saturday night, it was surprising that while we were there waiting for our takeout, not one other person came in.

I seem to always get General Tso's when trying out a new chinese place--I know it's over ordered but if it's done well, its great. The dish I got here was plentiful but uninspired. It was not "spicy" as designated on the menu, which I was looking forward to, but I did have a filling dinner! My partner ordered a few sushi rolls and gyoza, which he really seemed to enjoy. While I don't have any major complaints about this place, I am going to do more research on places to eat in the area, instead of taking my coworkers advice for a good "thai" restaurant in town :)

No website, located on Bedford St. in Stamford.

Monday, April 5, 2010

4/2/10-Bentara, New Haven, CT

I had the pleasure of working in the city on a beautiful day in April and one of my crew members wanted to go to Bentara for lunch, which was fine with me since I've been looking forward to trying this place! We arrived about 1130 and not a soul was in the place yet. It is a lovely space with minimalist decorations but with a cool modern-ish feel. If I was coming here for dinner, I would definitely want to look nice but we were just grabbing takeout for lunch, so my uniform was completely acceptable!

Never having been there, I felt somewhat daunted by their menu. Thankfully, a woman who works there was more than happy to point me in a direction of something I would enjoy. I had the Mee Hoon Goreng with chicken and it was fantastically different--such fresh flavors and what a nice portion for lunch! I ordered it at a medium heat level after hearing my coworker say that the heat was worse than thai but I did not find that to be true at all--the medium had a slight kick, but it was nothing to worry about, I would defintely get it "hot" next time. It was filled with noodles, chicken, sprouts, cabbage, carrots and had slices of tofu on top (I ignored just weirds me out). My coworkers both enjoyed the kerutuck--slices of beef/chicken or vegetables (tofu, chinese egg plants, carrots and slivered roasted red peppers) simmered in a mixture of spices (coriander, fennel seed, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and chilies) with potatoes and coconut milk reduction--it looked interesting, I wish I had a chance to try it! I did get the opportunity to try the Roti Chanai-griddle fried unleavened ghee (clarified butter) thin bread with curry sauce--it was so good!

I made sure to save half of my dish for Tom to try--now he wants to go there too! I do hope to get back there soon!

4/1/10-Thai Hut, Southington, CT

As if I need an excuse to eat Thai food, I met up with Beth and Gorski for dinner tonight--it was so nice to catch up with the both of them! Gorski suggested Southington's newest Thai restaurant and it was very quiet for 7pm on a Thursday night but our servers were nice and we had a great time!

It was Beth's first time having Thai food, so we helped her out the best we could and she selected the Pad See Ew, which she said she enjoyed. Gorski and I both ordered the drunken noodles-hot. For me, it wasn't as hot as I was expecting but it did the job. I am undecided if I liked Somewhere in Bangkok better or not. Thai Hut definitely had them beat in prices but for ambiance and decor, Somewhere in Bangkok wins that one. Anytime I can get a cheap, good dinner, I'm there! I'd say it's worth a try if you're in the area looking for Thai.