Monday, September 12, 2011

9/10/11-La Tavola Ristorante, Waterbury, CT

Happy Anniversary to us!

After an exciting and life-changing few weeks for us, we were happy to kick back and celebrate these changes and our anniversary over a delicious Italian dinner. I've heard so many good things from friends about this place that it seemed like the perfect special occasion restaurant. Reservations are a must! We called the night before to get a reservation and got a high-top in the bar and we were promptly seated there when we arrived. The atmosphere is classy, with black and gold accents, modern music playing on the stereo and not the traditional Italian music as I had expected. Our waitress was friendly, bringing over a basket of warm bread with green olives and a garlic paste--no olive oil as a bread dip in an Italian restaurant was a surprise

For our appetizer, we had the Pepper Beef Carpaccio served with baby arugula, shaved red onion, lemon, EVO & truffle salt--beautiful, meticulous presentation with an amazingly complex taste--the beef rounds melted in your mouth, accented by the pepper not only on the beef but from the arugula with a salt and lemon kick. In the meantime, the entrees that were brought past our table really revved up our appetite! Tom had the pasta special for the evening--house made pasta with spicy sausage, spinach, chopped fire-roasted tomatoes, in a garlic and evoo sauce--a nice balance all around with a colorful presentation. I had the lasagna bolognese with spinach pasta, classic meat sauce, ricotta cheese & mozzarella--in the traditional Italian way, the portion would have easily fed two people, but I gave it my best effort! Neatly plated and not swimming in sauce, it was a delicate yet filling entree.

As we had our yearly wedding cake from J-Cakes in North Branford waiting for us at home, we passed on dessert. Overall, the food was excellent and we felt we made a great choice for such a special evening, with the only negative being that our waitress seemed to have a habit of disappearing and forgetting about us--good thing we enjoy each others company!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

8/22/11-Elizabeth's Cafe, Madison, CT

We got back late after a long weekend spent in the woods and and neither of us felt much like cooking so we went to try this place I've heard some buzz about.

To our surprise, we actually had to wait for a table--on a Monday night in CT, that's unheard of, so that's a good sign, right? The owner was nice enough to make a few adjustments to get a table for us and after about 15 minutes, we were seated. Water was brought over, along with some warm bread. We started with the calamari, served with marinara and a lemon aioli--the marinara was nothing thrilling but the aioli was great and the portion was excellent! On to our entrees--Tom had the Pan-seared Tilapia, with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Pepper and Caper Sauce--he enjoyed this preparation and the fish was nicely cooked, I even enjoyed the bite I had of it! I had the Shrimp Scampi--hate to say it, but I was disappointed--there were only 5 shrimp in the dish and I could have recreated this dish at home easily, it was nothing special.

In all, this place was totally overpriced and not worth it for us. The food was good but not great, the service was pleasant and accommodating, but really, nothing special.I don't see us returning.

8/19/11-Barrington Brewery, Great Barrington, MA

Camping Weekend!

Stopped off for lunch here before heading in to set up our campsite. Tom and Harold have a work-connection to this place so we were excited to try this place. I had the chicken cordon bleu sandwich with a side of their beer-battered fries (I could eat a ton of those!); Tom had a special, buffalo chicken wrap; Harold had BBQ Beef Brisket sandwich; Carissa had the hot roast beef sandwich and the little one picked at a hamburger. Tom and Harold also tried one of their beers, the Berkshire Blonde--Tom thought it wasn't that great, it had too much of a hay-like taste to it. All of our lunches were pretty good though! Seemed like a very chill, laid-back atmosphere with a good bar scene, we'd be glad to return next year when we're back at the campsite!

8/13/11-David Burke Prime @MGM Grand Foxwoods, Mashantucket, CT


Every once in a while, it is necessary to splurge on a dinner like this and with our anniversary coming up, what better excuse to celebrate with a great steak? Having watched enough Top Chef and other food-related programs, we're familiar with the David Burke namesake and was super excited to check this place out. With reservations made via OpenTable, we walked into a a classy yet whimsical environment, with cow-print decor, accents of gold and a sense of indulgence in the air. Our waiter, who was ever-so friendly, brought us over water glasses and two large popovers to start our meal. The last time we had popovers was at the Mill at 2T and in comparison, these were dense and eggy tasting, in contrast to the light, airy ones at the Mill. While waiting on our entrees, we watched a nearby table as their tableside caesar salad was prepared--I wish we had ordered that, it looked incredible! Not to fear, our incredible dinner soon arrived--we came here for the dry-aged steaks, kept in a Himalayan salt-lined, temperature-controlled room. Tom had the 55-day aged rib eye while I had the dry-aged sirloin; the word incredible barely does this justice. Both of our steaks were cooked to our liking of medium-rare. At first bite of Tom's rib eye, the taste of salt cured meat starts to melt and coat your tongue and it is just heavenly. While you're not assaulted by the salt on my sirloin, the tenderness from the aging process is completely evident. For sides, we chose to share asparagus and shallots and a side of homemade french fries that came with ketchup and a kicked-up aioli--both were nicely presented and then devoured. 

After a meal so decadent, we couldn't justify having dessert. To our surprise, our waiter brought over cotton candy--what a concept! In addition, a small purse with two chocolate-covered rice krispie squares was given to us with the check--definitely sweetened the bill for me! Overall, this experience was all we could have hoped for and I cannot wait to return!