Friday, January 29, 2010

1/28/10-Hometown Pizza, Wallingford, CT

Tom said to me, "I just need a break, something new", so he suggested we go out for pizza tonight for dinner instead of cooking (translation: me cooking, him doing dishes). We had heard that Hometown Pizza had a great buffalo chicken pizza, so out in the snow we went. We were both pleasantly surprised at how nice it was inside and it wasn't too busy considering the weather. We decided to start with the mozzarella triangles so we could sample some of their marinara sauce (which was pretty good) and it was pretty neat--it was 4 very large triangles of mozzarella sandwiched in between 2 pieces of bread and fried--amazing! Is it wrong that I just want to go back and eat that?

On to the pizza--chunks of white chicken coated with buffalo wing sauce (most likely Frank's) with a light layer of the sauce over the pizza, covered in mozzarella and then globs of blue cheese sauce over all that. I am not a fan of blue cheese, so my half was without it (I'm tough, I can take the heat!). The pizza was different--not greasy at all and Tom commented that we got our pizza fix and our wing fix in one! Service was very fast and friendly and we had a lovely mid-week dinner out. It is nice to know that we have more decent pizza places in Wallingford than we originally anticipated--Hometown also offers a full italian dinner menu, so I'm sure we'll return to try something new (and get more mozzarella triangles).

No website, located on Rt. 150 in Wallingford.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1/23/10-Max Burger, West Hartford, CT

After a few hours of work, Tom and I went to get lunch at Max Burger after hearing pretty good recommendations from a co-worker. Its a nice space with western themed decor and bubbly waitresses (at least ours was!). We were seated and immediately brought glasses of ice water while our waitress told us the specials for the day. Tom decided to try the embarrassingly-named Fatty Melt-8 oz., sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato, applewood smoked bacon. There is just something so wrong about this burger, but Tom did enjoy it--he felt that the grilled cheese part of the sandwich could have been melted a bit more and that the bacon wasn't necessary but otherwise it was pretty good. I tried the Miss Daisy-8 oz., brie cheese, applewood smoked bacon, apple honey Dijonaise, toasted brioche, lettuce, tomato--Although I ordered my burger medium, it came medium-rare and the burger itself was dripping with blood and grease, so much so that the toasted brioche became soggy before half of the burger was finished. The brie was wonderful and creamy and the dijonaise was a nice touch with the burger. I had the regular fries and Tom ordered sweet potato fries and they both came in round containers served with a garlic aioli dipping sauce on the side--very good taste. The menu did claim that all burgers came with house-made pickles but we both did not receive them.

Overall it was a decent experience but I wouldn't anticipate coming back and the prices have a lot to do with that call--I understand that it's West Hartford and all but we both felt that the burgers were overpriced and quite honestly, we've had better burgers for less.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1/18/10-Brio Tuscan Grille, West Hartford, CT

Out to lunch on this very busy MLK day with my lunch partner-in-crime (and shopping!) Sheri. At 2pm, there was about a 15 minute wait and they held true to their timing. When seated, our waiter quickly came over and introduced himself, asked if we had ever been before--we both had not, and he proceeded to tell us about the specials for the day and also about some of their more popular menu choices. When drinks arrived, we placed an order for the calamari appetizer--it arrived nicely presented with two dipping sauces, marinara and a mustard-based sauce; the marinara was the clear winner for us. For our entrees, Sheri had the Shrimp and Scallop Linguine "Tossed with sauteed shrimp and Bay scallops, Shiitake mushrooms, garlic, pepper relish, black pepper cream sauce and fresh basil"--she commented that the pasta seemed very fresh but was very surprised by the spiciness of her dish and the asian influence the dish seemed to take on. I had the Pasta alla Vodka "Delicate handmade pasta filled with Ricotta cheese, tossed with crispy pancetta, garlic, basil and a Tomato Parmesan cream sauce"--pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was very enjoyable and I loved the little bit of pancetta, though I wish there was more (it's given me inspiration on how to tweak my vodka sauce!).

Our waiter was attentive and pleasant and even shook our hands after dropping the check! Overall it was a nice experience and although I am not privy to dining at chain restaurants, I would return.

1/16/10-Thai Food Express, Wallingford, CT

I know--I feel like all we've had lately is Thai food too! It's like we've been on a quest to find the best Thai in our area. This little place is a stone's throw away from us, so we got takeout for lunch and were pleasantly surprised. It is in a very nondescript building on Rt. 5--if you blink, you'll pass it--and inside, there are about 3 tables, though I don't think I would sit down inside to eat. Also, they are somehow related to the owners of Som Siam East, which I've heard very good things about, just haven't been (yet).

The menu has all the basics, with a few different items we haven't seen before. We started with the shumai--small purses of chicken and shrimp with a ginger dipping sauce--nice and tender. For our lunches, I had the drunken noodles (it's my go-to dish, as well as my barometer as to how good a place is) and I found it to have a good level of heat without being overpowering. Tom had the pad see ew, which he very much enjoyed-to me, it was just like the drunken noodles, minus the heat. In our takeout bag, there were 2 small containers that had an opaque mixture with corn and beans in it, never seen anything like it--it sorta tasted sweet, kinda indescribable, not sure what it was--if you have any idea, let us know!

The prices were very reasonable--with chicken in both our meals, it was $6.95 each and the portions were excellent for the price. We would both be more than happy to return--hopefully to try many more dishes that we would otherwise be apprehensive to try at higher prices.

No website, located on Rt. 5 in Wallingford.

Monday, January 4, 2010

1/2/10-Thai Gardens, Middletown, CT

Jill and Dan weren't thrilled with our last choice for Thai (Somewhere in Bangkok in Southington) so she suggested we try a place they usually go--Thai Gardens in Middletown. Although the food was ok, there was quite a few things that made it an undesirable experience.

First off, service seems a bit slow. It took a while for someone to come over and take our orders. For appetizers, Tom and I split the fried wontons, which were small but tasty. Jill and Dan split the crab rangoon, which they also enjoyed. Entree service was also slow and spotty-one dish at a time with a few minutes in between each one. Dan ordered the drunken noodles at a heat level of 3--it was unbelievably hot for a 3 and he sweat through the entire meal. Jill ordered the pad thai at a heat level of 2--while hers was not as hot as Dan's, it still seemed a bit more than is typical. Tom and I tried new dishes--Tom had the Basil Chicken, which he said took on an interesting flavor from the holy basil but overall he wasn't thrilled with the dish. I had the Oc Gai Dang-Deep fried chicken sliced and sautéed with hot and spicy sauce--I expected hot and got sweet with this dish--nearly no heat at all.

Overall, I found this place to be inconsistent and undesirable. There are better Thai places in the area, Tom and I don't plan on returning.

No website, located on Main & College St., Middletown. You can view the menu here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

1/1/10-Dish, Hartford, CT

No better way to start the new year than by having a new restaurant experience! Original plans were to go to Feng's--had a reservation and all--come to find out they were closed. I called the next day and found out that the hostess had screwed up and put it under New Year's eve. Although I was disappointed in their mistakes and how it was just brushed aside, we had a way better dinner at Dish!

Myself, Tom and his cousin Alicia and her husband Mike went down the street to eat here for dinner--Alicia and Mike have been here before and highly recommended it. We were quickly seated upon entering and Alicia and Mike ordered a bottle of Falling Star Merlot of the 20 bottles/$20 wine list--they didn't particularly care for it, noting that it was a tough bottle to drink. Mike suggested we place an order for the Dish Bread, with garlic herb oil and boursin cheese--it was hot and gooey when it arrived and was quickly devoured. Our server was also kind enough to bring over a complimentary loaf of the house bread with whipped butter, which was also delicious. For a starter, Alicia ordered the lobster bisque--although she thought it was good, she also found it strange that apple was incorporated in the bisque.

Onto the entrees: Alicia had the Surf n Turf--6oz filet mignon, butter poached lobster, carrot puree and a side of the loaded mashed potatoes (Tom took the remainder of her filet home, he said it was excellent); Mike had the special--Fulton Fish Market Cioppino, pasta full with fish, clams, baby octopus, etc.; Tom had the Long Island Duck Breast with the duck confit hash and I had the Crispy Pork Shank with the bacon apple risotto--Tom and I also split a side of the loaded mashed potatoes. Dinners were devoured all across the table, we all thought it was excellent. No dessert for us, as we all left stuffed! We had a great time and would not hesitate to return--the atmosphere, service and food were all desirable and exceeded our expectations.