Sunday, July 29, 2012

7/27/12-Liquid Lunch, Milford, CT

Hubby and I headed out for lunch today and I am glad we came here. Liquid Lunch has 5-8 soup choices everyday, so you're bound to find something you like. Tom and I both had the soup and half sandwich combo, which was perfectly portioned. Tom went with the clam chowder (as they were out of the french onion by 1pm) and the half Portland (turkey, apple coleslaw and sharp cheddar). I have never really cared for clam chowder, but this one wasn't bad at all and the sandwich had a nice tang to it. I went with the cheeseburger soup (as they were out of the buffalo chicken) and the half Martha's Vineyard (grilled chicken, cranberry sauce, bbq sauce, pepperjack cheese and caramelized onions)--sandwich was messy but super tasty and the soup was decent--pieces of meat were tiny and the broth was very oily, however the flavor was nice.

Overall, a nice, quick lunch with lots of options, plenty of seating and friendly staff. Worth a stop!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

7/20/12-Black Eyed Sally's, Hartford, CT

What a cool place to hang out.

I've been here on a few occasions, but apparently Tom has never been. So, on a rainy Friday in Hartford we stopped in to get some Southern food. The ambiance is very cool, with paintings of blues artists on the walls and the sound checks of a musician who is going to hit the stage later in the evening.

The menu has every Southern dish you might be craving (for us, that's pretty much everything!). We decided to start with fried okra and pickle chips--hot, lightly fried with a "Tennessee tartar" sauce for dipping--this disappeared fast! I never had either of these things fried before, but I would definitely have them again. For entrees, Tom had BBQ Beef Brisket platter, which came with coleslaw, red beans and rice and he ordered an additional side of garlicky green beans. The brisket came atop texas white toast and was a great portion. It wasn't fall-apart tender, but it wasn't tough either and had a nice smoky flavor. I went with the Southern Fried Chicken, which came with collard greens and mac n cheese. The chicken was out of sight--four pieces fried to perfection, nice and juicy on the inside yet crispy and a nice hint of spice on the outside. The mac and cheese was incredibly creamy and the collard were good (but not as good as the ones we make!)

We were too stuffed to even consider dessert, but we had a great meal! Can't wait to go back!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7/19/12-Bricco Trattoria, Glastonbury, CT

Out to dinner tonight with a lovely friend from school, Kim. I was a fan of the restaurant that formerly occupied this space (Sauce) and hoped that this would be just as nice--and it is. Classy, upscale interior, friendly staff and great food. I was able to make a reservation via OpenTable (which I love) and was seated immediately upon arrival.

Kim had a draft beer to start, while I went with the bellini--perfectly balanced, not too sweet. Bread came to the table--soft and warm, seasoned, with a bowl of olives in olive oil. On to our entrees--Kim had the fresh potato gnocchi, which she enjoyed while I had the fresh cavatelli napolitano with braised pork sugo--the pasta was perfectly done, served with a nice amount of the braised pork, which was super tender and really added to the overall flavor of the dish.

To finish our evening, we went with the warm Valhrona chocolate cake. I was excited to try this, since Valhrona is my current favorite chocolate thanks to a chocolate tasting I did a few months ago. This was rich and chocolaty, not at all like the traditional cake I thought it would be and would definitely satiate any need for chocolate.

Overall, a lovely evening out. Would definitely return!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

7/13/12-Mike's Deli, Old Saybrook, CT

Tom and I grabbed some lunch before hitting the sand after his cousin recommended this place. Great deli!

This place is tiny, with no real semblance of order, but it all seemed to work out in the end. Tom had a salami  grinder with all his favorite toppings, while I went with the house smoked turkey with my favorite toppings. There are a ton of choices for sandwiches, along with daily specials, soups and sides. The sandwich is huge, with enough stuff on the bread that it is bursting out the sides. The bread is nice and soft, but I wish it was a bit heartier and larger to better hold the contents of the sandwich. Otherwise, this stop made for a nice lunch on the sand--we'll definitely be back on our way to the beach in the future!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

7/6/12-Pasta Cosi, Branford, CT

Tom and I headed out for dinner at Pasta Cosi, located in the cute downtown green area of Branford--such a nice quiet area compared to Rt.1! We had reservations, so we were seated right away and water glasses filled. The ambiance is nice for a date night and with only a handful of tables, it was cozy without being cramped.

I started with a glass of the house Pinot Grigio and Tom had a beer and a bread basket was brought over. I love good Italian bread, but this stuff was so hard, it surpassed the limits of the word "crusty". This was one breadbasket we definitely did not want refills on.

Hoping that things would turn around, our appetizer arrived--fried mozzarella. The mozz was definitely fresh (in the two odd-shaped pieces we got), but plating and portions were way off-balance. We asked for both of the sauces they had available on the menu for this item--lemon caper raddichio and marinara. The lemon caper came in a large ramekin, taking over half of the dish, with the marinara taking up another quarter, leaving the two mozz pieces in the rest of the plate. Plating issue aside, the flavor of the sauces worked nicely with the mozz and was enjoyable.

For my entree, I had the Amatriciana--pasta with a sauce of diced onion, pancetta, bacon, garlic, wine and red pepper, with sliced sausage on top. I loved the slightly smoky flavor to the sauce but I wish the pieces of pancetta and bacon were more plentiful and visible; otherwise, I enjoyed this dish and the housemade pasta. Tom went with his go-to pasta dish--clams in white sauce. He noted how filling the dish was, related to the housemade pasta but he also commented that the clams were a bit overdone. Overall, it was a nice meal but it didn't stand out enough for us to become one of our go-to Italian joints, or even for us to likely return to.

7/5/12-Fiore, Middletown, CT

Met Jen for lunch today before she starts her new job! We met halfway in Middletown and neither of us has been to Fiore, so we gave their lunch menu a shot. We were immediately seated upon entering in the small dining room, which definitely could use some updating and redecorating. Water glasses were filled and garlic knots were brought over--holy garlic! They were so good and garlicky, it was a good thing I wasn't on a first date! The menu consisted of a large selection of traditional Italian dishes and all are very reasonably priced. Jen went with the shrimp scampi--nice portion of pasta, done to al dente, with large, perfectly cooked shrimp (only one shrimp wasn't properly deveined). I had the veal francaise, which came with 2 pieces of veal, served with a bright lemon-butter-caper sauce and broccoli on the side--veal was good, not overdone and a great portion for lunch. Lunch also came with house salads, which was a nice addition.

In all, we both had a lovely meal and a great time catching up, as always. Would definitely return for lunch again!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

6/30/12-Skipper's Seafood Restaurant, Niantic, CT

Tom and I perused the Niantic Arts Festival this morning and decided to grab some lunch on the way out. We were definitely thinking seafood, just not sure where, when Tom spotted this joint as we drove by. We quickly turned around and headed in.

We placed our orders at the counter, then headed back outside and grabbed a table under the awning so we could enjoy the view of the Niantic bay. Ten or so minutes later, our order was ready. I got a lobster roll (hot, of course) with drawn butter and a side of potato chips and coleslaw. I am so happy to report that this lobster roll was one of the best I've had--chock full of good sized lobster chunks, on a buttered and toasted New England style hot dog bun, I was a happy camper after having this! Tom had the clam strips dinner, which came with fries and coleslaw--he commented that the clam strips were among the best he's had, not too oily or heavy tasting, but light and fresh; I tried them and enjoyed them as well. The french fries were nice and crispy and Tom enjoyed the coleslaw, noting that the cabbage was perfectly done for his taste and the flavor was right on. We would definitely come back next time we're in the area!

6/28/12-Perk On Main, Durham, CT

Tom and I met up with Emily today and brought her to one of our favorite brunch spots. It was beautiful outside so the three of us grabbed a table on the deck so we could enjoy the view.

Tom broke out of his usual (Swiss Army Ciabatta) and had the Nathan Hale crepe, filled with chicken, tomato, basil, mozz and a hint of balsamic vinaigrette--he really enjoyed this and has decided he'll order crepes more often! He shared my crepes, as always--I ordered the Maple Avenue and the Rajun Cajun. The cajun is definitely a new favorite for me, chock full of chicken, tomatoes, cheese and ranch. Emily had the Maple Avenue as well, along with the Chicken Ranch--she commented on the crepe dough itself had a great flavor, along with creative and delicious fillings. I think we have another fan! All of our plates came with half a dill pickle and a slice of cantaloupe, rounding out a lovely brunch for all of us.

Both Tom and I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere here and the service is friendly and well-timed. Another thing I love about this place is that they get what they can locally and/or organically and they are very eco-friendly. All scraps are composted, everything that can be recycled is and they have filtered tap water free to the patrons. Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area looking for a nice, comfortable breakfast or lunch spot!