Barnaby’s Cafe

May 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

A modern corner bistro with floor to ceiling windows, with a view of Market Square Park. It’s a lively, sit anywhere atmosphere. The staff is welcoming, friendly, and attentive. Casual attire, great lunch spot. 

Hickory BBQ Burger
A beautiful handmade patty, topped with two seared slices of ham, cheddar cheese, diced red onion and BBQ sauce. The bun maintained integrity to the last bite, a sure indication of quality. A heaping pile of french cut fries filled the plate, with a ramekin of BBQ sauce.

801 Congress St • Houston, TX
Website

Endo Sushi

August 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Brightly light, full daylight sushi restaurant in the heart of Arlington is definitely the go-to place for sushi, when you’re having the craving. The friendly staff greets you arriving and departing. The light wood fixtures and tasteful decor gives this place a timelessness and appeal that is comfortable and unpretentious. The house specials make every visit a new culinary adventure.

Spicy Lobster Tempura Roll
Lobster, avocado, puchi-puchi, seaweed roll with a light, crunchy tempura, topped with shredded lettuce and spicy sauce. Delicious! We had to order a second one, just to be sure.

Maryland Roll
When one is so close to the ocean, and in Maryland, soft shell crab is a must. This roll comes with soft shell crab tempura, vegetables, fish roe, and sweet sauce. A great fusion of a local flavor with Japanese artistry.

Arlington • VA
Website

The Mission

August 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

The Mission restaurant in Scottsdale. A luxurious, romantic setting with dark wood and rustic furnishings with glittering chandeliers and glass fixtures. It’s a beautiful atmosphere. Any pretension evaporates with the warm greetings and friendliness of the staff. Expect to spend the time to enjoy your experience. And in case you can’t get enough, the chef has two other restaurants in Scottsdale, Zinc Bistro and The House Brasserie.

Tableside Guacamole
Chunky haas avocado, jalapeño red onion, fresh garlic, sea salt, lime, tomatoes, chipotle puree, cilantro, cotija & roasted pepitas

Duck Carnitas Empanada 
Duck confit, foie gras, orange habanero glaze, oregano, mushroom & queso Oaxaca

Roast Corn Gordita
Roasted corn, squash, zucchini, mushroom, gordita & huitlacoche crema

Chorizo Porchetta
Pork shoulder, house made chorizo, rosemary, cotija, white bean puree & sweet garlic crema

Poblano Grits
Tennessee grits, poblano & horseradish

Pumpkin Bread Pudding 
Pumpkin bread pudding, scotch, pepitas & pomegranate

Guatamelan Chocolate Pastilla 
XO tequila, fig and guajillo glaze, tres leches ice cream & spicy cocoa nibs

Website

The Spot

August 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cozy and just right on the commercial middle of Johnson St. It’s a small local joint, with big booths that scream “comfort”. The staff is friendly and personable. This is an easy place to go for an impulsive night out, or a regular go-to Spot.

Grilled Salmon
Delicious sweet bourbon glazed salmon, cooked to perfection.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Whatever you do, stay for dessert and order anything off the menu.

827 E Johnson St • Madison, WI
Website

Café du Monde- Vieux Carré

August 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

The original location, on the banks of the river, across Deçateur from Jackson Square, is your first stop when visiting the Quarter. If there’s a line, go around to the back side, there’s a break in the fence to get in. It’s a dog-eat-dog seat yourself, so be assertive and grab the first open table, clean or used. I try to sit near the middle, in case it rains. One of the waitstaff will come to your table, clean it off and take your order. When your food arrives, be ready with cash. They wait for no one. This place runs like a well oiled machine. It is the thing of beauty, history and deliciousness. One custom is to wear black to show the powdered sugar, not required or expected. It is a blessed oasis from the stimulation overload of the Quarter.

Order café au lait and beignet. Beignets come three to a plate, loaded with powered sugar. 2 plates are enough to share among three people. The au lait is amazing, perfect and something I dream about. A straight up order comes with the small. $5 and change.

Cash only.

Oliver’s Public House

January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Upscale casual, this new farm-to-table restaurant is a refreshing addition to dining on the near-West side of Madison. It is everything you want farm-to-table to be: creative, casual atmosphere, craft cocktails, an accessible menu that makes you drool. The wait staff is friendly and well informed. The atmosphere is lively but not too loud. I’m definitely bringing people here.

House on the Rock cocktail
Scotch whiskey, lemon juice, honey, ginger syrup, Bittercube bolivar bitters. This is a full flavored blend of citrus and sweet with a kick. The rest of the cocktail menu is just as inventive.

Shrimp and Scallops as an entree
The most perfectly cooked scallops that I’ve had in years. This dish is orgasmically good. Someone at the table must order this.

2540 University Ave • Madison, WI
Website

Great Taste of the Midwest 2012

November 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

It was perfect weather for the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild’s Great Taste of the Midwest, hosting 142 midwestern craft breweries this year at Olin Park. There are a few standards I have to pay homage to, but I always try to find new and interesting beers to fall in love with.  Here is an alphabetical listing of the beer tried and responses.

Ale Asylum Madison, WI
Happy Ending: This is a 7.7% abv, Belgian Abbey Ale.  This is a fine beer, but not as full flavored as I want an Abbey Ale to be.  It’s light-weight and easily drinkable.  I’m still looking for my Ale Asylum beer.

Bell’s Brewery Galesburg, MI
Cherry Stout: I don’t generally like fruit beers, but this one was surprisingly good. The cherry really blended nicely with the stout, making it a compliment, not a competition.
Raspberry Wild One: Yikes, very fruity, almost like a wine cooler.  If you like really light-weight beer that doesn’t taste like beer, this is yours.  Sorry, Bell’s, not my beer.
Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout: Still awesome.  They tapped the keg at 4:30pm, and you can better believe I was in line. 

Destihl Champaign, IL
Barrel-Aged Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout: This is dessert in a glass.  Really, it’s like a slice of cherry chocolate cake.  I really wanted to try this beer, since the last time I was at the brewery, I was unable to sample.  This is a special release, which I think they should add to the rotation.  Well done, Destihl!

Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, MI
KBS: Founders is a great brewery. I’ve been to their brew pub in Grand Rapids, it’s a fun place, lots of atmosphere and yummy food. The beer is solid, and a sure bet.

Right Brain Brewery MI
Chipotle Porter: spicy, smokey, solid porter. Found in the Real Ale tent.