Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9/25/10-Bellini's, South Windsor, CT

Took a drive up to meet Dave and Colleen for dinner. This place has a very classy yet casual feel, perfect for the 4 of us to catch up over a nice meal. To start our evening off right, Col ordered a glass of moscato, I had a glass of pinot grigio and Tom had a blue moon. Dave and Col had spent the day at the Big E so they weren't very hungry, so they stuck with lighter meals; Dave had the Di Casa salad with grilled chicken--while he may have enjoyed it, we all found it quite strange that it came already dressed with italian dressing, yet he was not asked what kind of dressing he wanted, nor did the menu state that the salad came pre-dressed. That was kind of a negative point, especially because it was over dressed and Dave does not care for that (not sure if this was a mistake of our waitress or if the menu neglected to state it came with dressing.) Colleen had the "stack" of eggplant cutlets, roasted tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella--very nicely presented, good portion size and Col said it was very tasty. Tom had the supper club: Sausage and Lentil soup and mozzarella garlic bread to start, Cioppino--which was chock full of seafood, all perfectly done, along with a mini chocolate mousse in a homemade chocolate cup; he really felt that everything he had was very good and that was evident by the cleaned plates! For myself, I had the supper club as well: Chicken Florentine soup, Veal Rollatini with a white chocolate cupcake for dessert; my soup was creamy, filled with spinach, mushrooms and chicken (Tom and Col liked it as well!), the veal was incredibly tightly rolled, yet very delicious, with a sauce filled with mushrooms. The cupcake was the big letdown for me--I ordered white chocolate and I guess that was just the icing, which didn't have that defined white chocolate taste for me. The cake was chocolate and dry, so overall, not what I had hoped for.

In all, great time catching up with friends--we closed the restaurant down!

9/24/10-Balladino's, Madison, CT

On the long haul 16-hour shift this lovely Friday. I swear, if my partner didn't know about this place, I would have driven right by. A very unassuming place with a small sign, you wouldn't know there was a sandwich shop inside. When you walk in the doors, you are attacked with the amazing smell of an Italian deli and that for me is always a good sign! However, the front cases are empty and the shelves are sparsely stocked with a few imported italian items; I guess I was hoping for something more like Angelo's in New Britain (if you've been there, you know what I'm talking about!) With that point behind us, I got in line to order my lunch. I chose the #29, The Suraci--grilled chicken topped with bacon, romaine lettuce, plum tomatoes and honey mustard on a hard roll--bacon was crisped up fresh, nice piece of grilled chicken and the bread was very good. Service was relatively quick, which is essential when I'm working on the road and the staff was friendly. Clearly this place is no secret in Madison because there was quite a line the entire time I was there! Stop by and give it a shot if you're in the area.

No website, located on Boston Post Rd. in Madison.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9/20/10-Local Burger, Northampton, MA

A breath of fresh air.

What a wonderful family place to go! First time in downtown Northampton MA, what a bustling little town! It was nice to see a lot of people walking around enjoying the weather. There were a ton of choices for food and we definitely struck gold. Walked right up to the counter where the young girl was more than happy to explain the menu to us. They use as many local ingredients as they can, which is refreshing to see. I ordered the Farmhouse Turkey Burger-cheddar cheese, bacon, and honey-dijon maple mayo-very moist and tasty, very very good. Tom ordered the dry-aged beef (which was only available on the weekends, so we were lucky!) and it was delicious, very juicy. We also shared the sweet potato fries with a side of their maple mayo--yummy!

I hope to come here again-great family run burger joint!

9/18/10-Main Garden, New Haven, CT

If you are looking for a satisfying, cheap lunch and you like Americanized chinese food, this is the place to go. My coworker and I both got lunch plates, for $4.95 each. Nothing out of the ordinary about this little takeout chinese joint--close proximity to Yale (and Yalies can order online from campusfood) and perfect prices for college students. Good place to stop for a cheap, filling lunch but nothing to write home about.

9/10/10-Besito, West Hartford, CT

Although it was not my first visit to Besito, it was Tom's. We decided to come here for our anniversary dinner since we were married in Mexico and we wanted that cool, classy Mexican feel for our celebration. I placed a reservation earlier in the week to ensure that we could get a booth for dinner and when we arrived promptly on time, we were seated quickly. Our waiter came over and enticed us into their signature Patron margarita, which was quite delicious. A bowl of house made salsa and chips were also brought over and we were all too happy to devour them. The salsa had a sweet and smoky flavor with a nice thin consistency and the chips weren't oversalted like they are at other places.

We decided on our appetizer--I ordered the sopa de tortilla and Tom had the Tamale de Elote. The soup was very very similar to what they called Azteca soup while we were in Mexico, so it was nice to relive that experience. Tom's appetizer was described as "ok", only because he expected it to have a spicy, smoky flavor because of the chipotle but that didn't come across as described.

Onto our entrees! I had such an excellent experience with the enchiladas de mole poblano that I ordered it again and once again, I very much enjoyed it. Tom had the Filete de Res al chipotle, which was perfectly cooked, perfectly sauced and had amazing flavor. Small bowls of refried beans and white rice were also placed on our table to share.

We were both pleasantly full by the end of our dinner....but that wasn't the end! The staff had heard that it was our anniversary and surprised us with a citrus tres leche cake to share--it was unbelieveably moist and sweet with a hint of citrus, nothing overpowering. To top it all off, we were given warm churros and our worry dolls. A wonderful evening to celebrate a one-year old anniversary!