So it's been a while since I've posted anything here, and Miss Kitty is surely displeased. These are a few of the food outings of late.
I've rated this place before, and it remains one of my favorite places for a down home meal. They have excellent burgers, and you can't miss with the fried cheese curds. The drinks are always strong but tasty. What else can you ask? For starters, you can ask for Joe. Joe is the best. Lest I forget, rhubarb. Rhubarb tart, rhubarb cobbler, whatever is on the menu, order it. You won't regret it.
Service: 10+, Joe rocks!
Nuestra Cocina is another of my regular hangouts; they consistently have amazing food, drinks and service. I love that everyone I've ever taken here leaves happy and satisfied. We had two appetizers, the sopes (mmmmmmmmm) and the queso fundido. Both were fabulous. They were running a little behind on the tortilla making that day, which was a little strange since it wasn't a ridiculously busy night, so that gave the fundido time to cool off a bit. Lucky for us, I suppose, since PG was likely to have burnt herself inhaling the stuff! Dinner for me the pork tenderloin with parsnip and guajillo salsa. It's true that I'm a sucker for celeriac. I cannot lie. PG had the pork as well. Mouse Ears went for the beef special. For dessert there was orange flan and cinnamon ice cream! The spicy margarita and the spice limedrop are amazing. Given the chance, get the de Granada while you're at it.
I've heard the hype. You've heard the hype. Who hasn't heard the hype? Was it good? Yes. Will I go back? Probably. Did I die and go to heaven? No. Don't get me wrong. The menu was varied and original. Everything I had was tasty. I could tell you what PG thought, but I couldn't hear a word she was saying. Clearly I should learn to lip read or perhaps some essential sign language before going back here. When I left, my ears were actually ringing the way they do when you've been hanging in a bar with a really loud rock band. What's up Paley's people? Are there amplifiers installed for sound enhancement? Breathe. Okay, so what was this food? Well, we started with the crab beignets and the fava bean salad. Beignets were delicious and light. PG says they were were a little underdone. I don't particularly agree. She had the fava bean salad, which I'm told was delicious with it's preserved lemon. However, there was some sort of toast thing with a pepper on it that made PG's eyes water. I've seen PG eat some scary spicy stuff without blinking an eye. Um, if it makes her cry, it's too spicy, people. Seriously. I was afraid to try it. PG had the butter poached halibut, which was melt in your mouth good. Man, it was good. I'd go back just for that. The server even recommended a nice wine to go with. I had a lamb dish (I can't actually remember what part of the lamb) with sausage and chick peas. It was delicious if out of character for the restaurant's northwest-y feel. For dessert there was decent coffee, lemon mascarpone tart and molten chocolate cake with honey vanilla ice cream.
Drinks: On the wagon!
Wandering on Division -- don't ask why... Miss Kitty and I spot a new joint called the Matchbox Lounge. Apparently new, and possibly up and coming. We ordered drinks, both of which were good. Let's not talk to much about the waitress confusing the Easy Rider and the Hard Driver drinks, so that Miss Kitty felt obligated to consume both when they were delivered to the table... The house salad was good and not overdressed, which is so rare these days. I had a veal stock soup with morels, lardons, and arugula. Smack in the middle was a delightful morel flan. Miss Kitty had a grilled cheese with ham and muenster. She's still talking about it. :) All this from the happy hour menu! I'm pretty sure I'll check out this place again.
Service: 8, she gets points for trying, right?
So, the girls are out for a night on the town, but we need to make it in time for the show at 7:30. Let's go somewhere new we say. Okay, I've heard a bit about this place on Hawthorne called Iorio. I think it's been there a couple of years. Certainly it's been there long enough to work out some kinks, right? Apparently they could use more practice. The more I think about it, the less i think I might go back. Details, please? Why certainly.
First we're shown to our table. We tell Jeffrey that we need to leave by 6:45 to make our show. Then everyone disappears. Perhaps we've entered some alternate dimension where the menu explains itself and the food brings itself to the table? Nope. That's not it. Crap. 5 minutes later, mind you, this is opening at 5, not during a dinner rush, the waiter comes to ask what we might like to drink. Drinks? You have drinks? "Do you have a menu, or should we make them up," says Artsy Broad. Perhaps we've scared him now...
Skip to the drinks. We were finally off to a pretty good start when the spanish coffee and mango mojitos arrived. Now we arrive at the part where we realize that menu items are things like "catch of the day" and "today's ravioli" and we begin to realize we are missing key information for placing our orders. Where has Jeffrey gone? Oh,Jeffrey? Ope, there he is. Once the daily menu is explained we're off again.
Miss Kitty is sold on the gnocchi with the shrimp special for a starter. She was unimpressed. Art Broad goes for the beet salad and the scallops over mushroom risotto. I, lucky me, have opted for the scallops over celeriac puree (yes, there it is again.) They don't suck. They are well cooked, but otherwise unremarkable. They are paired with a salad of greens which actually seem to conflict with the flavors in the scallops. I'll just eat scallops and then the salad I say. Disaster averted for now. Let's see how they do on the second course, I say. Puff pastry with goat cheese and eggplant. Yup, i'm sure all those things were in there somewhere. The puff pastry is undercooked and coated in a layer or three of soggy cheese, eggplant, peppers, and again this mysterious pile of greens. All in all it tastes pretty good. But then I get in past the crunchy exterior to find uncooked puff pastry. Ew. What do I do, I can't send it back; there's really no time, right? Okay, power through. I eat all of the cooked pastry from the edges and consume the salad and assorted other toppings. Okay, it's only 6:20, let's give them one more chance. We all order coffee, and I order the flourless chocolate cake with crema gelato (and apparently magical strawberry puree which was not listed on the menu.) The coffee arrives. It's pretty standard illy coffee. The dessert arrives. Oh dear. Where has the time gone? Suddenly it's 10 to 7. Miss Kitty cleverly asks that the bill be prepared while we consume our coffee and dessert. Oh, now the chocolate cake is pretty good. I'll have another bite I say. Is that burnt chocolate? Why yes. Surely they saw that before they turned it out on the serving plate. Surely. I won't swear. I'll eat around it, and then we can just get out of here. Needless to say we walked out the door at 7:03. Sigh. Hmm. That was a rant.
Drinks: Responsible designated driver!
Whew! Clearly I should post more often, or at least avoid Iorio!