Monday, March 26, 2012

3/20/12-The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT

Our last stop in Burlington before heading back to the B&B for the night was to get dinner at the Farmhouse. An old friend of mine works here and posts about the beers they have, which totally appeals to Tom and the menu looked pretty awesome, so we were happy to try it. Loved the space! They are a self-described "gastropub" and that feel definitely came through! Great size dining room with a laid-back, hipster feel to it, with an outdoor beer garden that was hastily opened for the beautiful weather that invaded Burlington in late March. Like many other VT places, they are connected with many local farms and producers, which always means that quality is fresh and excellent.

For beers, they have an amazing selection. Tom decided to try two of the hefenweizens they had on the list, while I went with a cider that was on draft, suggested by the waitress--she made a great call, it was crisp and light, just the way I like it! Before dinner, a paddle with four condiments was brought out--ketchup, whole grain mustard, house made bbq sauce (this was the one thing I was not a fan of!) and an aioli--nice touch for further customization of your burger! For dinner, I had a burger that was on the specials for the night, topped with local VT cheese and apples tossed in a balsamic dressing--juicy and a touch of sweet from the balsamic apples, I definitely enjoyed this! Tom had a burger as well, also with local VT cheese (I didn't try his because it disappeared so quickly!). The burgers both came with fries, which were "hand cut"--pretty good, nice and crispy! The burgers might seem a bit on the pricey side, but the locally sourced quality is worth the extra cash.

In all, we had a very nice dinner--everything was awesome from the service to the food to the bar.....would definitely return next time we're in town!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3/19/12-Simon Pearce Restaurant, Quechee, VT

Came for dinner on a Monday night and everything was just wonderful. We got a table by the window, which looks out over an incredible view of a waterfall (the sheer power of the water was also seen just before the restaurant, as there is a bridge that got completely washed out during Hurricane Irene. It was noted in the menu that Simon Pearce also suffered extensive damage during the storm, losing their entire wine cellar).

Water glasses were filled, drink orders taken and warm bread was brought to the table--a small baguette and irish brown bread, both excellent. For starters, I had the Vermont Cheddar Soup--creamy and absolutely delish, the only thing that could have made it better would have been crumbled bacon on top! Tom started with the Rock Crab Cake, which he enjoyed. For entrees, Tom had the Seared Duck Breast with yaki soba noodle, bok choy, edamame and a raspberry soy reduction--the duck was cooked perfectly, the raspberry soy was a nice compliment to the duck. I had a Wild Boar and Smoked Bacon bolognese--the dish definitely had an almost overpowering smoky taste, the sauce was flavorful but so thin that you had to be careful when eating or it would splash everywhere when you were grabbing the pasta! Portion size was perfect and service was nice and efficient. We opted out of dessert--nothing really caught our eye. Overall, a lovely dining experience made better by the view! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

3/16/12-Zingarella Pizzeria & Ice Cream Cafe, Plantsville, CT

This new restaurant is quite the popular place in town! I remember (and fondly miss) Kry's Pizza inhabiting this building and I was really hoping that this was a good replacement. They really have done an excellent job updating the outside and the inside of the building, adding to the revitalization of downtown Plantsville. The interior is warm, a bit cramped and slightly quirky with the mix of different chairs, but it has an overall nice atmosphere. Shortly after 530 when we arrived, the placed was packed and we got the last table in the dining room, which was unfortunately right next to the door--it could get very chilly when people kept the door open!

After we were seated, our waitress came by and mentioned that she was backed up with a bunch of new tables and she'd be by in a little bit--this was a precursor to how service went for the rest of the evening. A while later, she came by for the drink order and then the food order. We decided to start with some garlic knots--they were delish! I was expecting a bread basket as is customary in Italian restaurants, but I guess not here. Family-style salad came at the same time, which was already dressed in balsamic vinaigrette dressing--standard table salad. After the salad, we had a very long wait before our dinners arrived--a bit too long.

Onto the entrees! Dad had the three cheese raviolis with a side of meatballs--we noted that the portion seemed to be on the small side, but the meatballs made up for that because they were huge! Mom had the Salmon alla griglia--she really enjoyed this dish, especially the dill vinaigrette that dressed the fish filet. Tom had the pollo scallopine piccata--he enjoyed the chicken but found the side of mixed veggies to be overcooked. I had the lasagna pasticciata--I also found my portion to be on the small side, but it was satisfying--probably the first time I've ever been able to finish a pasta dish, which Italians know is not usually feasible! Our waitress was sporadic, not very careful about refilling drinks and then trying to clear plates before everyone had finished, which put us off a bit.

It is a new place, going through growing pains. With time, I hope that service gets better, both faster and friendlier and that they find their groove and become a consistently nice place to get a meal. The food was good overall and I would say that we'd come back, but most likely only on an off peak time, like a late lunch. Actually, I'd like to give their pizza a chance--but for take out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

3/14/12-Danny's Little Taste of Texas, South Windsor, CT

Out for the evening with Rick--he wanted to get BBQ and who am I to argue? Neither of us have been here but have heard good things. We grabbed an early dinner before a movie, so we were the only ones dining in at the time. The interior is a bit worn with a definite rustic feel to it, but we're not here for the atmosphere! With not one, but two rolls of paper towels on the table, we knew what we were getting in to.

The menu is fairly large and diverse, with other options for those not in the mood for BBQ, along with a few specials each night. We were brought a small bowl of house made potato chips--nice and crunchy. Onto the good stuff! Rick went with the Rodeo Smoked Combo--andouille sausage, beef ribs and 1/4 smoked chicken, along with french fries--they smoke the food on premises, which was evident by the slight smokiness of the restaurant. The rib that he got was mostly fat and the waitress noticed it on the way over to the table and told us she had already asked the cook to throw a new one on for him--that's classy and awesome. I had the "Billy the Kid" babyback ribs 1/2 rack with french fries--the ribs had just enough tension that they weren't completely coming right off, making eating them enjoyable and they had a great flavor. The fries were house-cut and seasoned nicely as well. I also cannot resist trying the cornbread at a BBQ place so we both got sides of that--she recommended it grilled and it honestly has to be the best cornbread I've ever had. It was a very generous side, nice and moist (I asked for the recipe, but no luck!). If we weren't so full, the deep fried twinkies might have been next, but alas, it just gives me a reason to come back!

If you are in the area and hungry, skip the madness of the Buckland Mall area and head down the street for some quality BBQ!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

3/10/12-ANOHO Asian Noodle House, Middletown, CT

I truly had high hopes for this place. Having been to some other great Asian restaurants, it would have been nice if this place was good, but it really was average at best.

We went to dinner a bit early and were quickly seated. Water glasses were filled and Tom and I quickly decided what we wanted to try. We started with the hot & sour soup--I've never had this soup, so I have nothing to compare it to. I found the soup to be on the thick side, almost slightly gelatinous; however, the flavor was pretty good. We then split the Chengdu dumplings with a spicy sauce--the dumplings were very thin and slippery, instantly tearing when grabbed with chopsticks. The sauce was a peanut base, not spicy at all, but complimented the pork filled dumplings nicely. Onto our entrees--since this is a noodle house, we both did the create-your-own noodle dishes. I had the chow fun noodles with szechuan sauce and chicken--the portion size was excellent,  and this dish finally had some heat to it (not overpowering, definitely doable). Tom had the udon noodles with the szechuan sauce and beef--the noodles were nice and he had the same feelings on the sauce but overall, we've had better.

Service was very confusing and spotty, as all three staff members working in the dining room took care of all the tables together, which didn't work so well. Overall, a very average experience, however, the prices are very good for the area. We wouldn't go out of our way to return here, as there are better options a short drive away to fill our craving for noodles.