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

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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

Malai Marke

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Crisp, clean and stylish without pretense, one of the only restaurants open for lunch on Indian Row, this is a welcoming oasis from the bustle of the city. The sleek dark wood furniture is complimented by tasteful pieces of dark wood artifacts from the homeland. The staff is friendly and service prompt without feeling rushed.

Saag Paneer
My all-time favorite Indian dish, this is my litmus test of Indian restaurants. This preparation might be my all time favorite, so far. What ever the secret ingredient (I asked without success) in the spinach made it creamy and addicting without being rich. The paneer was firm, dense, and flavorful, the way paneer ought to be. The next time I’m in New York, I’m coming back for this dish.

318 E 6th Street • New York, NY • 10003
Hours: Lunch Mon-Thu 12-3pm • Fri-Sun 12-4pm • Dinner Mon-Thu 5-11pm • Fri-Sat 4-12am • Sun 4-10pm

Website

Mickies Dairy Bar

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tucked in at the foot of Monroe St, most tourists skip over Mickies Dairy Bar, but the locals know better. Mickies is all character from the peeling exterior, to the original diner tables and booths, and the aging soda fountain bar, filled with University types. It’s a seat yourself place, and you have to be assertive since space is limited. The menu is hand written on giant boards above the kitchen window. All the condiments, cream, syrup, butter, jelly are in bowls on the table. If you want something it’s probably there. The wait staff is all business and no nonsense. They are fast, efficient, and you’d better be ready when they show up. They are serving a packed house from open to close, and dawdling is frowned upon. It’s one of the best breakfast places in Madison, hands down.

The Scrambler
A layer of hash browns, a layer of your choice of filling, eggs and cheese. It’s enough to feed an army. You have a choice of toast and gravy (unnecessary in my opinion). It’s an intimidating plate full of food. I usually cut it down the middle and take half home. It’s fantastic.

Cash only, please.

1511 Monroe St • Madison, WI • 53711
Hours: Tues-Sat 6am-2:30pm, Sun 7am-2pm

608-256-9476

Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Nice looking, brushed steel and dark wood restaurant with easy access to the freeway.  From Interstate 74, take the Neil St exit and head south.  There’s a meter parking lot across the street.  The atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing, a modern business lunch place without the need for a suit jacket.  Brew barrels line the entry, and the steel vats gleam behind clear glass walls.  A chic glass-tiled host station greets you and a rough stone wall ushers you to the restaurant floor.  

Bison Burger
Completely delicious, lean bison surrounded by fresh lettuce, tomato and a thick bun.  It was perfect, not dry!  What I love about bison is that it doesn’t have the fat taste of beef, and this burger was no exception.  It comes with fries, but I opted for a side salad with the house dressing- a garlic vinaigrette.  It was a satisfying combination and well portioned.

My one complaint is the service.  There is one server who takes the order, one who brings the food without direction, and many who wander the restaurant without the initiative to look to see what customers might need. We were not checked upon, water was not refilled and no dessert or check offered well after our plates were clean.  The restaurant was not full, and I felt neglected.  It’s unfortunate for such a fine establishment to be hamstrung by this fault. The food is excellent and I would come back if the experience was better.

301 N. Neil Street • Champaign,IL • 61820
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am to 10pm • Friday – Saturday 11am to 12am • Sunday 10am to 9pm

Website

Taqueria Guadalajara

June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Don’t let the peeling paint and crumbling exterior fool you.  Taqueria Guadalajara is has the best mexican food in town.  Get a table in the back dining room, and prepare for a culinary trip south of the border.  The staff is friendly and obliging. The decor is typical comfort meets hole-in-the-wall, pink walls and diner furniture, complete with soccer matches on the tv.  I adore this place.  One of the family opened another restaurant: Francisco’s Mexican Cantina on E. Main St, equally great! 

Burrito Mexicano
A fantastic giant burrito beautifully topped with guacamole, sour cream and red sauce.  I usually end up getting this, because it’s so completely satisfying and delicious.  The steak is cooked perfectly tender, the tortilla is soft and chewy.  It’s a full meal, so come hungry.

1033 S. Park St • Madison, WI • 53715
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 10pm • Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 10pm • Closed Mondays

Website

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