Friday, August 31, 2012

8/26/12-The Cookhouse, New Milford, CT

Tom and I were out in this neck of the woods for a wedding and before heading home the next day, we decided to stop here for lunch. This really has been the summer of BBQ joints for us and as this summer season comes to a close, this was a great way to top it off. This place is wooden and rustic feeling, with a slight smell of the smokers in the air.

Thanks to Jason M.'s review, I knew exactly what I was going to order--the Fat Tommy Flatboy--pulled chicken, pulled pork, pepperjack cheese, caramelized onions and "comeback sauce", all on a flatbread that reminded me of a tougher cousin of a pancake. The sandwich was amazing and every item worked well together. I also had the sweet potato fries on the side, nice and crispy. Tom went with the beef brisket platter--very nice portion size and the brisket had a great flavor with a perfect smoke ring on the meat. His dish came with honey and brown sugar glazed carrots and french fries. The bbq sauce on the table was also pretty tasty and accompanied the meat nicely.

Overall, an excellent experience--I can see why this place is consistently rated best BBQ in the state. It is in a nice area, with a lovely scenic drive in the Rt 7/Rt. 67 area--you won't regret the trip!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

8/23/12-Salute, Hartford, CT

Stopped by here for a bite before the Yelp Helps event and had a good, solid experience. The owner makes you feel like family the minute you step in the door, as if you had been there a million times. He checked to see if we parked at the garage next door or if we walked because they validate parking at 50%! 

We were quickly seated and water glasses filled. We tried the "almost-famous" garlic cheese bread--nice and crusty on the outside, draped with chopped garlic and cheesy goodness--definitely worth trying. 

For meals, Tom went with the Pasta a la Vodka--the feta cheese gave it a distinct, salty taste but it wasn't overpowering. The sauce had a nice consistency and the dish was nicely presented. I had the meatball salad--perfection! Two huge meatballs adorned my plate of salad that was lightly dressed with balsamic dressing. It is funny how tomato sauce covered meatballs work with salad--the sauce gives a nice balance to the natural acidity of the balsamic dressing. I love the chunks of fresh mozz and the parmesan shaved tableside for you over the salad. 

At that point, we were full but not overly stuffed, as we still had some "light bites" to look forward to at the event. To round out our experience, our waiter gave us a bag of housemade biscotti to-go and it was delicious later on the next day. I should also mention how awesome the staff is, chasing me up the street when I left my phone at the table--so thankful they caught me! 

Well worth the visit if you're in downtown Hartford. The ambiance is casual with a romantic, classy vibe and our overall experience was great!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

8/17/12-Apricot's, Farmington, CT

For all they hype about Apricot's, the building looks so rundown from the road, you would think you were dining at a shack! Turn into the parking lot and go up the stairs inside, and it is totally different. We were greeted by the host, who explained that he could seat us inside or outside on the deck and if we wanted to eat under the tent by the river, we could walk down there and see if a table was available. We chose the deck, as it still had the view, but was private for us since no one else was out there. They really have a great location with the river running behind the place and this really adds to the experience.

Warm bread and butter was brought to us--both kinds of bread were delicious. The summer lunch menu was varied and made it hard to choose, but the turkey burger really got my attention, so I went with that. This was probably one of the better turkey burgers I've ever had--it was huge, juicy and really had great flavor to it. Definitely handmade, the burger was served on a portugese muffin with smoked gouda, caramelized onions and a side of scallion mayo--what an amazing combo, all components really worked well and complimented each other! I also got sweet potato fries, which were crispy and perfectly done. The burger was so huge I couldn't finish it! Tom also went with a burger, the Grilled bacon and bleu burger, his usual choice in a burger, with a side caesar salad. He was disappointed in the side salad, as it didn't have shaved parmesan or croutons as caesar typically has. His burger was also huge and impossible to finish, but he found his burger to be a bit on the dry side--he added some of the scallion mayo to his burger too since we both were pleasantly surprised by it.

With how heavy those burgers were, we both wish we made different lunch choices, but that just means we'll have to come back another time. A lovely al fresco summer lunch!

8/15/12-K.T.Baxter's, Wallingford, CT

We've been here once before and decided to give it another go. It was relatively dead for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon, with only a few tables and seats at the bar filled. One waitress seemed to be doing everything for the room and she seemed a bit overwhelmed and busy, but she took care of us in a timely fashion. We both ordered specials--Tom had the Cajun burger, while I had the soup of the day and a grilled turkey, cheddar and bacon. Tom felt his burger was probably a premade, frozen, average burger--nothing exciting. My sandwich was dry and crusty and definitely could have used some mayo or other sauce to make it easier to swallow. The soup was a sausage minestrone--not bad. Both of our meals came with fries (the uniform kind) and a pickle.

Overall, nothing exciting and not much of a reason for us to come back, especially when there are so many other choices nearby.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

8/4/12-Willimantic Brewing Company, Willimantic, CT

After hearing about this restaurant/brewery for some time now, we finally got out this way to stop in. What a beautiful space! I would never have thought a restaurant would work so well in an old post office, but they really pull it off while keeping a lot of the old charms.

Service was very friendly and helpful. I am not a beer person, but the waitress brought over two samples for me to try and I ended up going with their Cream Ale--smooth and light. Tom went with the Workingman's Wheat, and he enjoyed that.

On to the food! The nachos should really come with a disclaimer, or at the very least, a suggestion that you should have 4 people or so with you. The plate was absolutely monstrous!  We made this suggestion to our waitress--and then she told us that a man had come in last week and ate the whole thing by himself (gross, believe me).

I didn't want to even think about more food when our sandwiches arrived. I had the Beer Tap Beef Sandwich (thin sliced steak, swiss and balsamic-beer glazed onion)--I felt that the sandwich was a bit on the dry side and it could have used either a sauce or au jus on the side. Tom had the Brooklyn Buffalo Chicken Wrap--the wrap was so messy, with the sauce dribbling out the bottom.. It would have been better if the chicken was breaded so the hot sauce could stick to it. Both sandwiches came with huge steak fries in your choice of flavors.

Overall, decent bar food and house brewed beer. I am sure this is the hot spot to be on the weekend or at happy hour and can see why it is so popular!