Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sabatino's Sausage Factory, Newport Beach CA

Because I travel so much for work I rarely go out of my way to dine out when home. Thursday night was king of a special occasion though...I had to make a trip to Orange County for some personal business and I took the opportunity to invite a few friends to dinner.
My friend's husband chose Sabatino's in Newport Beach. I'd never heard of it but checked it out online and the menu looked appealing so I made a reservation.
I'm really glad I did! This is a very cool place, if you can find it. It's in the middle of a "trailer park" although the trailers look more like really nice homes, which of course they have to since the location in on Lido Island.
I had the halibut which was melt in your mouth delicious! I will definitely return here, probably in the spring or summer so that I can enjoy the lovely patio when it is warm and dry.

Pesce Misto
Fresh tiger shrimp, scallops, fresh cockle clams, fresh mussels and fresh fish in a natural sauce with fresh tomatoes and herbs, served on a bed of Linguini. If you are a seafood lover you have to try this one.

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli
Homemade raviolis served in a light wild mushroom marsala sauce, fresh spinach and a touch of cream. Great comfort food on a cold, rainy night.

Grilled Alaskan Halibut Limone Salad
Fresh Halibut served on a bed of exotic greens topped with sun dried tomato, capers, lemon herbs and olive oil. The salad dressing was lemony fresh and light...more of a summer dish but by far my favorite at Sabatino's!

Mikimoto's Japenese Food and Sushi Bar

I went to Wilmington DE last week for the first time. As is my habit I looked for a sushi bar to check out the local sushi and found Mikimoto's. The fish was OK but the restaurant a little too trendy for me. I asked the sushi chef if the Uni was fresh and he had no idea what I meant. He kind of shrugged his shoulders as if to say "sure" but to be honest I am not sure he even spoke English (or Japanese!). The bar was packed but my friend and I were the only 2 people at the sushi bar...that says a lot in my book. If I were to go here again I would get there early and hang out in the bar, not the sushi bar.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cocktail Hour

I love my job! Everyone I work with loves to eat as much as I do and there is nothing better than breaking bread with a bunch of foodies. Everyone is eating off of each others plates, sometimes without even asking! And then there is cocktail hour...which often times lasts all night :)
From my previous post you can tell I've had great food experiences, and, I've had some great cocktail experiences too! One of my favorite was in New Orleans, where I had the pleasure of realizing I really do like Gin, thanks to Chris McMillian, world famous bartender who works at The Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel in New Orleans
Now that I've gotten the intro stuff out of the way, on to the fun stuff...cocktails!

Shorty's, Seattle WA

If you are going to Shorty's be sure and bring tons of quarters,
because you  can still play pinball here for a quarter!!! I had a ton of fun
here drinking PBR on tap, eating hot dogs and playing old school
Pinball with some of my foodie friends.

ESPN Zone LA Live

Petra's Bistro, Mammoth Lakes, CA

Love this bumper sticker! My mother-in-law always had Two Buck Chuck for her guests. 
Whenever I had dinner at her house I brought real wine, and served the TBC to those
who prefer their wine mixed with 7-up. It actually makes a great wine cooler :)

Laetita Vineyard, Arroyo Grande CA

Great Pino Noir in my neck of the woods!

PF Chang's, Somewhere USA

Great happy hour at the bar, every day, from 3 PM to 6 PM

Scoozi, Boston MA

Nothing better than a pitcher of Sangria for lunch!

Presidential Lounge, Riverside CA

Hollywood CA

Chimay Belgian Ale, brewed by Trappist Monks,
9% alcohol by volume, and Schweddy Balls Ice Cream.
Need I say more?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dinner is Served...

Snack Bar, Austin TX

Love, love, love this place!!! Walking distance to the Colorado River with a patio on the street where you can enjoy a glass of wine. Oh, and you can bring your doggies and they will be served a refreshing bowl of water!!!

I had the chicken Caesar salad made with organic baby romaine lettuce and the best Caesar dressing I have ever had...service was great...can't wait to come back!

Umi Sushi Bar & Grill - Austin TX

The happy hour menu looked good but I ordered off the regular menu. This is called Jalamaci and it was soooo yummy...Japanese yellowtail sashimi topped w/ tobiko and chopped jalepenos in ponzu sauce.Enjoyed a nice Sauv Blanc and I was a happy camper. Definitely recommend this place, about 15 minutes south of downtown.

Nice atmosphere, I sat at the bar (they have a full bar) and my server, Gwen was very sweet and attentive. The dining area had low lights and a nice ambiance. The only thing I didn't like about this place is that all the female servers were dressed provocatively which is not necessary when you have great food.

Seattle WA

The four photo's above were taken at a Bon Appétit account in Seattle WA. The food here is
mostly homestyle, comfort food. Everything in a Bon Appétit café is made from scratch,
right down to the stock for their yummy soups and chili's. I love it when I get to open a BA café

Pike Place Market, Seattle WA

I took this picture for my mother-in-law because no one loves mushrooms more than she did. 

Pike Place Market, Seattle WA

Brussels Sprouts AKA Little Green Balls of Death. The merchant told us this is what they've been
called for the past 20 years since a father and his daughter came to buy stuff and the father said
"This is your vegetable for the day" and the daughter was like "They're little green balls of death!"
and the name stuck since him and his brother (shopkeepers) hate them anyway Hahaha.

Some place in the middle of nowhere, TX

Dinner tonight began with fried pickles, fried jalapeno's, fried mushrooms and fried corn, and a nice Pinot Grigio.
Not exactly one of my best meals...Texas is a foreign country to this California girl!!!

Cleveland Marriott East, OH

Cleveland Marriott East is one of my favorite hotels. This is not
a vacation destination but for the business traveler, this is your
best bet outside of Cleveland area, especially when it comes to
Hotel food. They have a great burger and the Walleye is local and
yummy when you get it grilled. But, the best thing about
this hotel is Michael Smith, bartender extraordinaire. Mike, as I came
to know him, is always happy to share his knowledge, whether the topic of conversation is cocktails, food, or Cleveland. Just one of the things
I loved about Michael was that he treated everyone the same,
whether a long term guest, an over-nighter, or his fellow
employees. I even noticed people coming in especially to see him,
even though they were staying at the "other" hotel down the street.

CK's, Houston TX

The Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport has a restaurant
at the top which spins around. Kind of like my head was doing
after my second bottle of Estancia Pinot Noir. I love this wine and
now buy it at the grocery store, for half of what I paid for this bottle.
And the Meatloaf was good too!

Flannery's Pub, Cleveland OH

Great Fish and Chips, lots of ice cold beer on tap and  a fun crowd.
Hung out here on a Sunday and watched the game. The funny thing
about that is I don't watch sports, but it was a great excuse to spend
an afternoon in a bar, by myself...

Petra's Bistro, Mammoth CA

Beef Carpaccio which was wonderful and the Summer Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche

Il Mulino, Las Vegas NV

Old School Italian in Caesar's Casino

Great food! Try the Black Pasta which get's it color from the ink of a squid...delicioso!!!

Snack Time?

No, not really. This was actually homework :)

Neptune Oyster, North End Boston

One of my favorite meals when traveling...I might move to Boston just to be close to this place! The salad is a Butter Lettuce with a Lemon Walnut Vinaigrette. The oysters are so fresh they taste like the ocean. And in this case I think I was drinking a Stella, but when I  go with my friend Sandra it's all about the Rosé! The Fish Taco's are really good here too.

Mike's Pastry, Boston MA

Best Pistachio Cannoli ever! And they have these little Pistachio Cookies
that turn your mouth and lips green yet you can't stop eating them...
even though you just drank a bottle of Rosé and you have terrible just keep popping them into your mouth, until you are
finally forced to pass them out to everyone on the plane with you
just to stop yourself from eating the rest...just saying...I warned you!

Blue Ginger, Wellesley MA

This is Ming Tsai's restaurant. I've been here twice, the first time Ming actually
sat at the table with us and chatted for a while. If you are ever in the Boston
area you have to go here. Try the Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish
and a Fig Martini. Finish with the Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brulée....better than sex!
(Make reservations or you probably won't get in.)

Massimino's - North End - Boston MA

Another favorite in Boston. This is a tiny restaurant on a side street in the North End.
Family owned forever - I would love to be a fly on the wall after hours at this place
if you know what I mean! Regardless, as long as you stay on their good side I
recommend the Antipasto Misto, the Chicken Piccata and the stuffed Veal Chop.
For Dessert, the Tiramisu is the best I've ever had.

Riverbend Restaurant, Newton MA

The  Boston Marriott Newton is another hotel with great food.
From the bottom up, Duck Confit, Caesar Salad, Prime Rib
and Scrambled Eggs with Zucchini Hash, This was one of those
trips where I actually ate in the hotel restaurant almost every night!

PF Chang's, Everywhere USA

PF Chang's is my "go to" restaurant when traveling. The and service is always good.
I love their Tofu Lettuce Wraps, Chang's Spareribs and Crispy Honey Shrimp.
But my favorite thing to eat is their Chicken Noodle Soup. Made to order with
shitake mushrooms, grape tomatoes, pin rice noodles and cilantro in a spicy chicken
broth it's a little party in your mouth, and even better if you have a cold or the flu!

Sushi Boat, SJC SW Terminal

Looked OK but not good...I don't recommend it!
Better off going to the Santa Cruz Wine Bar 

Pacific Cabin Sushi Bar, Riverside, CA

Nice presentation but not the best I've ever had. There's a better place in Riverside
called Ooka's, but this one is walking distance so I will probably go back eventually

Mario's Place, Riverside CA

Crispy Squash Blossoms filled with goat cheese, tomato-basil sauce...these,
along with the fact I can bring Newman the dog and enjoy a glass of wine,
makes for one of my favorite places to eat in Riverside.

Ping Pong Dim Sum, Washington DC

Char Sui Bun filled with Honey Roast BBQ Pork, Prawns wrapped in Cabbage, Griddled Spinach and Mushroom Dumpling, and finally the Baked Ginger Cake with Blood Orange Sorbet and a Chocolate Martini.
Great place to eat just outside of China Town in D.C.

Wasabi Bistro, Seattle WA

This place had great sushi and a lovely Lychee Martini. I tried to go back on my next trip
but it had burnt down. How does that happen in a restaurant that server raw food?
Do they even have a stove? Just kidding, but I was very disappointed. I found their website
so I think they are back in business now. Lucky me, I am headed back in a couple weeks!!!!

Zushi Puzzle, San Francisco CA

It is probably obvious that I always find time to have sushi at least one night when traveling. The worst I ever had was in Boise, ID. (I know, why would anyone have sushi in Boise??? But I had to try it just because I was there...big mistake!). My favorite, up until tonight, was Magic Fingers in Atlanta. I go there each time I visit Atlanta but next time someone asks me what’s the best sushi I have ever had I will say Zushi Puzzle.
My experience didn't start out great - I arrived at 5:15, about 45 minutes before my friends were to arrive and asked for the sushi bar. I was told that the sushi bar didn't open until 6 so I said fine, I would wait. The host went and spoke to someone and came back to tell me that the sushi bar was booked all night. This is one of the only sushi bars I know of that takes ressies, so at first I was a little annoyed, but by the end of my experience I decided I was glad they take reservations because next time I eat here I know to call ahead.
I am a sushi purist (have been called sushi snob), in that I never eat rolls and I prefer sashimi over sushi. My favorite experience is sitting at the sushi bar with my friend Bev who loves it as much as I do, and telling the sushi chef to feed us. I wish I could have done this on this night. The sushi was so fresh I could almost see it fact...I COULD see the live Uni moving and it tasted like the ocean. Also loved the wild hirame (halibut),wild yellowtail, and the roll I had, which I never do, but it was called "The Best Roll You've ever had", and, it was :)
So I think the most important thing to remember about Zushi Puzzle - when you go make a reservation for the sushi bar. I'm guessing they are booked days in advance.

Yoshino Sushi, Oakland CA

he sushi here was really good but a little over priced. The Monk Fish Liver was very good
and not a lot of sushi bars have it so that was a plus. Also had Anago (salt water eel)
which I love but which is also not always available. Practically across the street from
Oakland airport. Next time I am passing through will definitely have dinner here.
Full bar and their Mango martini was one of the best I've had.
And, pretty sure the bar was full of Raiders :)

Guadalajara Del Centro, Houston TX

Grilled quail, stuffed with Mexican chorizo, spinach and cheese
and finished with a mild ancho-chile glaze; served with poblano
sweet potatoes and grilled vegetables. 

ToGo Sushi, Covington LA

Interesting place...great sushi, David, the owner and sushi chef, loves to talk and is very friendly.
Not romantic or fancy but next time I am in Covington LA I will definitely be back.

Yuki Sushi and Sake Bar, Hillsboro OR

Sushi was fresh! Toro was fabulous. Sunny Lady Roll was one of the best I've had.
Got there at 6 PM on a Wednesday night and sat down at the sushi bar immediately.
Great selection of Sake. New favorite place for Sushi in Oregon!

Mission Inn, Riverside CA

Best Sunday Brunch ever! Never ending crab legs,and other yummy seafood like muscles and prawns.
MTO omelets, pancake and waffle
bar, and Mimosa's that never run out.  Really happy I can walk here
from my house

Somewhere on the North Shore in Hawaii

One of our Cafe's just outside of Cleveland OH

More Uni...Love me some Uni

Homemade Pozole

From one of the café's I opened recently. I have a love affairwith old school
authentic mexican food, especially Pozole and Huevos Rancheros.

930 Sushi, Newport Beach CA

It was National Sushi Day so my sushi loving friend and I  wanted to go somewhere really good.
This place got pretty good ratings on Yelp we so decided to try it. We ordered "Omakase" style or "I'll leave it to you" and according to Wikipedia means we "expected the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes, and the meal should have been likened to an artistic performance by the chef." Unfortunately our dishes were just OK and not all that creative. On the plus side the servers were very attentive and the Lychee Nut Martini yummy

The Salted Pig, Riverside CA

Roasted Bone Marrow, White Asparagus, the Pig Board and Tombo Sashimi

Sushi Bar at Oakland Airport

Much better than sushi at the San Jose Airport...

Cold Spring Tavern, San Marcos Pass, CA

Chili sampler. Left - Green Chili. Right - Regular.
Front - Wild Game with buffalo, venison & rabbit
Wild game won!

Presidential Lounge, Mission Inn, Riverside CA

Filet Mignon Nachos, Carnitas Lettuce Wraps, BBQ Pork Sliders
You can probably tell by now that I love Sushi. I also love Crème Brûlée. No matter how full I am I will order  this dessert if it is on the menu. The best I've ever had was in Portland OR. It was like eating silk. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the restaurant and have not been able to find it since...Note to self...take pictures
of the restaurant signage from now on