Friday, July 29, 2011

7/22/11-Aziago's, Southington, CT

I was here a few months ago with my mom for lunch, but I haven't been here for dinner in 6 years, so it was about time for a proper revisit.

We are always surprised when we walk into a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night and it is practically empty, although this place has never seemed too popular. Needless to say, we were seated immediately and our drink orders taken--since it was so hot out, frozen drinks were on our minds so Tom had a frozen peppermint patty and I had a frozen Italian mudslide--both refreshing and excellent! House made bread was brought to the table with a small plate of quality olive oil for dipping. Small salads were also brought out before our dinners arrived. For our entrees--Tom had the prime rib special--although the prime rib was nicely cooked, he wasn't a fan of the gravy that was poured over the meat, explaining that the meat itself is good and didn't find the gravy necessary and would have preferred a side dish of au jus. His dish came with a side of mashed potatoes, which also didn't totally thrill him. I had the veal parmesan served with a side of penne and marinara sauce--while I liked the texture breading, it was so obtrusive that it was hard to distinguish in my mouth where the veal was versus the breading because of a lack of flavor--very hard to describe, so I can't say I was entirely thrilled with my dish.

Overall, our experience was ehhh--average. From past experience, lunch at this restaurant is much better than dinner so I can't say that we'd go out of our way to return for dinner

Monday, July 18, 2011

7/11/11-Puket Cafe, Rocky Hill, CT

Lunch with Kim!

Any excuse to have Thai food, I was excited when she agreed to meet up here. As with any Thai food outing, I usually get drunken noodles as a basis of comparison and I was pleasantly surprised that they were excellent--and spicy, just like I asked for! The heat level was perfect for me and the portion was great for lunch. Kim had the Pad Thai, which she enjoyed as well--nicely plated and also a great portion. Prices were reasonable and the setting was comfortable for our lunch outing!

7/9/11-Tango (revisited), Glastonbury, CT

To be honest, we couldn't wait to come back here. When you have as good as an experience as we had on our first visit to this establishment, you can only hope it wasn't a fluke, especially since we've talked it up to everyone who asks us, "What's the best place you've been to lately?". We are happy to report that it is NOT a fluke--Tango is still amazing!

We took Tom's cousin Alicia and her husband Mike along with us, since they enjoy creative dining as much as we do! The expandable towelettes started our experience as it did last time (kitchy, yes--but still awesome). Garlic bread with maple butter was brought over to us--an interesting contrast in flavors that worked, surprisingly. We started with the calamari appetizer that we loved on our last visit--unfortunately it had too much of the vinegar-based sauce, making the calamari soggy (I know we wished for more sauce last time, but there has got to be a better balance!).

On to our entees! With brand new menu selections in place, no specials were offered tonight but no matter to us--great meals all around! Mike had the Seared Ahi Tuna, which was beautifully plated, looked as if it was cooked perfectly to his liking and must have been good since it was devoured! Alicia had the Eggplant Involtini--nice portion size and she enjoyed this as well. Tom had the Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with a creamy wild mushroom and smoked gouda sauce with fried leeks--he was a huge fan of this dish, I wish I had tried it! I had the Cornflake Chicken with loaded mashed potatoes, braised kale, and with a side of orange BBQ sauce--everyone at the table had to have a bite of this dish because it was amazing! The orange BBQ sauce was so different, yet worked so well and the loaded mashed had so much bacon in it, I was amazed!

We couldn't end things without having dessert--Tom and Mike shared a banana and nutella croissant while Alicia and I shared a chocolate chip cookie dough "sandwich" that came with a side of cinnamon sugar dusted sweet potato fries--yeah, that's what we thought too. The fries, while we appreciated the attempt, definitely did not go with the cookie dough sandwich at all--if they want to keep those as a "dessert" option, it should be separate, not with something else. Also, how could I forget the "aromatherapy" course? My favorite part of the night--we all loved this!

Overall, yet another great meal out with Alicia and Mike! Can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

7/3/11-Soul de Cuba, New Haven, CT

I think Tom and I debated on where to have lunch today for two hours, but after much debate we made an excellent choice! We're trying to experience more of what New Haven has to offer and sometimes that can be difficult pricewise, so lunch is usually a better option for us. Many places that we came up with and wanted to try were closed on Sundays for lunch but thankfully this was not.

I've experimented with a Cubano burger from a Bobby Flay cookbook, but sadly I've never had the real deal--that was all about to change today. This is probably one of the tiniest restaurants we've ever been to, with just a handful of tables in a brightly decorated dining room, adorned with family photos, artwork, even framed cigar labels (because, let's be honest, when you think of Cuba you think of cigars!). Our waiter was on the quiet side, but very efficient. Water glasses were brought right over and Tom also ordered a beer (Cristal, from Peru). We decided on the chicken empanadas to start--hot, flaky dough with chopped chicken, peppers served with a side of mango salsa--these were so good, perfectly cooked and the salsa was a nice accompaniment. Onto our bocadillos! Tom had the Soul Cubano--serrano ham, manchego cheese (fresh cut--bit of rind on the edges!), salami, roast pork with a cilantro and roasted garlic aioli on the pressed bread--I was told I was only getting one bite of his sandwich, that's how much he enjoyed it! I went the traditional route and had the Cubano--ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, salami, pickles, mayo and mustard on the pressed bread--the amazing flavor of the pork took this sandwich by storm, along with the mustard and the nice crunch of the pickle. Both of our sandwiches were seriously amazing and we left completely satisfied, two new fans of Cuban food! Tom definitely wants to come back and try their dinners and you would definitely want to make reservations if you are looking to try this place!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

6/30/11-California Pizza Kitchen, West Hartford, CT

Lunch date with my two favorite Laura's! We came here as a way to celebrate summer genetics class ending and what a tasty celebration it was!

Strawberry lemonades for the girls and a regular lemonade for me started our lunch, along with an appetizer of the Avocado Club Egg Rolls-Avocado, chicken, tomato, Monterey Jack and applewood smoked bacon in a crispy wonton roll. Served with homemade ranchito sauce and herb ranch--I wish all egg rolls were as delicious as this creation was! Perfectly portioned for the 3 of us, we enjoyed every last bite of this one.

On to our pizzas! Laura P. had a tough time deciding (and who wouldn't?) but in the end made a great choice--the Margherita pizza. Laura B. went with the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza (no onions! and on the honey wheat dough, obviously)--I was jealous of this one, it looked amazing! I went with the California Club (on the honey wheat dough)--my only complaint was I couldn't really enjoy the avocado since it was in big wedges, preferably I would think that diced up would work out better--other than that, it was an excellent choice. We all enjoyed a few slices, then took the rest home for later. In all, it was a fantastic lunch with some of my favorite nursing girls--I'll miss you both in my classes next year but that doesn't mean we can't still be study buddies :)