Thursday, April 21, 2011

4/9/11-Max's Oyster Bar, West Hartford, CT

I am really trying to make an effort to try different kinds of seafood, even though I have been almost completely adverse to it up until recently. For me, it is more likely that I'm going to try it if someone I'm with orders it and lets me have a bite, so I was super glad that Sheri and I were going out for lunch at Max's Oyster Bar so I could steal a bite from her!

I love dining in West Hartford, you really can't go wrong; that goes for the Max Restaurant Group too, where I've never had a bad meal. Today's lunch was no exception. To start, I was intrigued by the Hot and Salty Point Judith Calamari--Coriander batter, nuoc mam cham dipping sauce--Sheri mentioned that the dipping sauce reminded her of a thai fish sauce, and it did have that vinegary taste to it.

Sheri has been here before and told me exactly what she was getting--the Seafood Sampler, filled with an assortment of shellfish, oysters, clams, mussels, snow crab claws, shrimp and other market crustaceans, perched on a mountain of shaved ice with creative accompaniments. I finally got brave and tried a mussel with a remoulade sauce at her recommendation--with the sauce, it wasn't half bad! The texture was a bit weird for me, but I got over it and the sauce totally made up for it! I also tried one of the colossal white shrimp--I happen to like shrimp but the taste of these was so strong and it was cold that I really didn't care much for it, but it did allow me to try the dipping sauces that were provided on her plate. For my own lunch, I decided to go with the San Francisco Style Crabmelt--Sourdough bread, blue crabmeat, dill aioli, gruyere cheese, old bay french fries--I loved the concept and the overall taste was nice but where this dish fell flat for me was that the sandwich was so heavy that the bread became soggy and the sandwich was very hard to handle. I think I would have preferred this dish with lobster, since it would be lighter. The old bay seasongin on the fries was a nice touch though! I enjoyed that very much.

Overall, another successful outing with Sheri--I am so glad to have a friend who enjoys the good things in life as much as I do!

3/26/11-Lanie's Cafe, Loudonville (Albany), NY

Whenever we travel, we try to ask locals where to dine out. After looking at the suggestions in the hotel guidebook, we decided to go down to the front desk to ask where they would recommend. We were steered in the direction of Lanie's, a restaurant not too far from where we were staying. Since this was a Saturday night and we didn't have a reservation, we waited about 45 minutes for a table but it definitely was worth it!

When we were seated, we looked around at the plates on other tables--not only did everything look and smell amazing, the portions were huge! We decided to forego the appetizer and just stick to entrees. All of the dinners come with their salad bar, which was fresh and full at all times, along with italian bread and a block of cheddar--not sure why, but hey, we'll go with it! Tom decided to try the Surf and Turf Pasta--Medium-rare 5 oz. filet mignon skewer served atop sauteed shrimp and scallops tossed in a spinach tomato scampi sauce over choice of pasta--the filet was cooked perfectly and the chef was not shy about the seafood! I had the veal saltimbacca--An egg-battered cutlet of veal stuffed with cappicola and fresh mozzarella, baked and served in a sweet, light marsala butter sauce--this dish was huge and so so good! Neither of us could finish our entrees so we took the yummy leftovers home with us! I would definitely return here next time I'm in the area!