Friday, September 30, 2011

Jason's Deli piles it high

Sandwiches are strange things. Most people don't agree on what makes a good sandwich. Some like mustard, some like mayonnaise, some like both. And that's just one aspect of a sandwich. I usually prefer mustard over mayonnaise but there are many other dressings I'll use on a sandwich. For the Reuben there is only one correct dressing, Russian. Some try to pass off 1000 Island, which is good too, but Russian dressing is by far the correct dressing on a Reuben sandwich. Jason's Deli piles the corned beef high on their Reuben and tops it off with some tangy sauerkraut and swiss cheese on toasted rye. There are better Reubens in town but you have to pay twice as much and those other places aren't twice as good anyway. Well, there is the duck pastrami Reuben at Noble Pig. Now that's a good sandwich and at a reasonable price but we're talking about a traditional Reuben right? Jason's Deli has a better than most sandwich for a fair price.

One thing that seems to bug people about Jason's is their set up. When you walk in you really have to know where to go because it's just not obvious. They have a counter for take out, which looks like where you would order for anything, and a counter for dine in which is kind of around a corner and rather hidden along a sneeze guarded line with refrigerated boxes full of all types of desserts. Once you order they will normally give you a number and then you get your drink, a salad from the salad bar if you ordered one, and find a table. They bring your sandwiches out to you. If it's a cold sandwich you might get to pick it up at the end of the line but I can't remember the last time I had a cold sandwich at Jason's Deli.

If you have room after enjoying your sandwich you can also get a little ice cream from the soft serve machine. They offer the vanilla, chocolate and swirled options in either a cone or cup. It's a nice little after dinner treat.

Overall I've always had a good experience at Jason's Deli. The prices are right for counter service, the staff is friendly, the place is always clean and they truly have good quality sandwiches for a fair price. I'll certainly be going back the next time I'm in the mood for a sandwich.

Have a great weekend!

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jardin Corona is all about the lunch special

If it's lunch time and you're looking for something better than fast food but on the cheap then head over to Jardin Corona.  I go to the one in Cedar Park since it's near my office but they have a couple other locations around Austin.  It's a traditional sit down restaurant with the chips and salsa, friendly staff and fast service.  Now for the secret, just flip the menu to the back page and look for the lunch special of the day.  They have one for every work day and maybe weekends too but don't trust me on that since I only go during the week.  They are super cheap but still really tasty plus it's sit down service.  You don't even have to get up to refill your drink.

I've had several of their specials over the years but I think the best tasting one is the fajita burrito.  It's a good size to fill you up at lunch and stuffed full of beef or chicken fajita plus chili and beans then covered in a cheese sauce.  Another good choice is the Friday special with shredded beef or chicken flautas served with guacamole and sour cream.  All the foods are well made and honest but of standard quality. The meat has always been nice and tender and the chips have always been fresh.  In fact I think they make their own chips at the Cedar Park location.  Sometimes they have a little extra grease on them from going straight from the fryer to the table.  They don't go overboard with the spices so it's also a good place for someone that doesn't like the overly spiced food I love.  I just pour on some extra salsa and jalapenos and I'm happy especially for the price.

The staff has always been friendly and warm when greeting us and I've only had one incident where they messed up an order and really it wasn't all their fault.  I was eating with a friend and we both ordered the same dish but with different meat inside, it was flauta day.  They switched the dishes so I had chicken and he had beef.  No big deal since neither one of us noticed until we'd cleaned our plates.  And if that's Jardin Corona at it's worst then you really have nothing to worry about.

C'ya tomorrow mi amigos.

Jardin Corona (Cedar Park) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jorge's is the little chain that could make a good margarita

I'm not one for mariachis but I do like a nice margarita or Mexican martini every now and then. When that urge hits me we head down to Jorge's. It's a Tex Mex place on Hancock near Burnet. If you know where Billy's is then just keep going up Hancock a block or two.

The first time Steph took me to Jorge's was a Friday night and they had the mariachis singing and dancing and playing up a storm. The margaritas were flowing and everyone was having a good time. After my first margarita I started turning from grumpy to happy fat man. Why not? I had the Mexican Plate which is two tacos and two enchiladas to order plus rice and beans. The tacos were big and tasty, stuffed with plenty of seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. I had a beef and a cheese enchilada and they were big and flavorful too with plenty of sauce and melted cheese over the top. By the time I was finished I was too full for dessert. Steph had two cheese enchiladas with chili sauce. She loved them and even liked the rice and beans.

I also liked the wait staff. It was a little later in the evening and they were getting tired but still kept up the smiles and excellent service. Our drinks never ran dry and we didn't have to ask for anything forgotten. It was a good night. Thanks Jorge's!

Hasta maƱana.

Jorge's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Five Guys Burgers goes the extra mile

It started with a trip to get burgers by the President and now Five Guys Burgers and Fries is a favorite of mine.  I've never met even one of the five guys but I have met some really friendly people working at Five Guys.  We used to hit the one on Guadalupe at least once a week but now it's more of a once in a while at the Arboretum.  And I might add, there is not an arboretum at the Arboretum.  We asked one time and it turned into an Abbott and Costello routine.  Is there an arboretum at the Arboretum.  Yeah, it's the Arboretum.  But is there an arboretum?  Yeah, it's the Arboretum.  We could have kept that going all day.  Let's get back to Five Guys.

Steph and I had our normal cheeseburgers.  Hers was plain as in meat, cheese and bread only.  That's the only way she'll eat a burger. I put mustard, pickle, onion, tomatoes and jalapenos on mine.  The cheeseburger is double meat and double cheese.  It'll fill you up.  The beef patties are hand formed and cooked to order.  They literally yell, "two patties please", when you order.  We share an order of fries because the order is pretty big, especially when you have the regular cheeseburger.  They are hand cut and always hot and fresh in the bag.  That's another thing about Five Guys.  They serve you the order in a bag even it you are getting it to "eat here."  The burgers will be on the bottom, then a paper cup full of fries and then another scoop of fries all over everything.  We have to dig out the burgers and then pour the fries onto the wrapper.  It's a feast to behold.

When the staff isn't busy taking orders and cooking they go that extra mile and walk the dining room floor.  They might bring out your food or get you a refill on your drink.  It all depends on the timing.  I really appreciate that about the restaurant.

Did I mention they're open late?  Well late as in 10pm, but if you've ever tried to find something that's a little better than cheap fast food after 9pm then you know what I mean.  And if you know of some great places that stay open later on a week night let me know.

Have a good one.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bacon brings it home

Let's just be real for a moment, the place is called Bacon, they serve bacon, they have different flavors of bacon, they feature a couple special flavors of bacon each day, need I really write another word?

We headed down to 10th and Lamar today to see if a place named Bacon could ever live up to it's delicious, savory, pork bellied name.  Well, they didn't really have to do much to have me but it was so much more than I expected.  Extra friendly service that's extra helpful even though they were busy almost to the point of being swamped and food that is just out of this world delicious.  They have one of the best burgers in town.  Easily top 10.  I'll get to that in a moment.  So while we were eating, or dare I say savoring each wonderful bite, I thought I should come up with a restaurant scoring system.  Something like awarding Michelin stars.  So in the near future I'll be keeping a list of restaurants that earn these awards and you've probably already assumed it's going to be tire based.  I'm thinking one to three tires depending on if it's worth driving to the restaurant.  And maybe a flaming tire to get there as fast as possible.  Anyway if you think that will be fun and appropriate let me know.  Or if you have a better idea certainly let me know so I'll drop the silly idea I've concocted in my head.  Let's get to the food at Bacon.

Steph ordered the Bacon Fries with one of the specialty bacons of the day, coffee-pecan bacon.  She loved every bite.  The only thing she lamented was the use of frozen fries rather than fresh cut but it only knocked them down a notch.  The bacon was nice and smokey and cut into little chunks.  Think a nice thick strip of bacon and then slicing it from one end to the other about a centimeter or so in width.  And there was plenty of bacon on this dish, enough that she said she had bacon in every flavorful bite.  The other standout was the cheese.  They use a sharp cheddar that really stands up to the bacon and the melt.  If you've ever been disappointed with the flavor of a cheese as it melts and mellows then you'll know what she means.  This cheese stands up and makes it's presence known to really compliment the bacon and potato flavors.  

I had the Double Grind Burger.  It has, get this, both beef and bacon ground into their hamburger.  Then they fashion a 1/2 pound patty and fry it up perfectly.  When I first bit into this heavenly treat I couldn't believe they made it so well.  I've eaten at a dozen hamburger joints that don't cook or have the quality 1/2 as good as Bacon.  That's why I say they are easily in the top 10.  This thing was nice and juicy, cooked a nice medium finished off with some jack cheese.  It's too bad I couldn't get it medium rare but with the pork you just have to cook it a little longer.  They dress it with bibb lettuce, these kind of thick pickles and some onion.  I didn't pay enough attention to the pickles as now I want to know what type they were.  They were thick and had a nice flavor that complimented the meat.  I'll say they were bread and butter but that might be wrong.  I loved the bun too.  It was fresh and sort of like those kolache buns you see around town but not exactly the same.  It was a bit lighter in texture and tooth but still held up to the sandwich.

Something else I should mention is they have all those cane sugar based sodas.  Maine Root cola, Dublin Dr. Pepper, etc.  I really can't say if the high fructose corn syrup thing is good or bad but I do know I actually like the taste of cane sugar better.  I normally drink Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper when I do drink soda but I've found myself getting the cane sugar varieties when I can.  We'll see how that all works out.

So there you have it.  A place called Bacon really does live up to it's name.  I don't see how they could miss.

If you want to read Steph's take on Bacon you can find it here: She's Fed Up In Austin


Bacon on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Razzoo's still good but raises their prices and lowers the bar a bit

I've always been a fan of Razzoo's.  Their Cajun Skillet has been a favorite of mine since I first tried it in Dallas over a decade ago.  I love the smoky flavor in their red beans, the spicy notes in their Andouille sausage, the perfectly cooked shrimp in the creole, the etoufee over dirty rice.  It's all good and I've never had that skillet when it wasn't good.  The things they do well hit the high notes but over the last year or so they've been slacking and that keeps me from enjoying them more often.  Sadness ensues.

We arrived around 12:15pm and were seated right away.  They weren't very busy but it took 15 minute before a waiter came around to take our drink order.  The other waiters were just walking past us like it was nothing.  They should be trained to act as a team and cover each other so things like this don't happen.  The guy that finally came to the table was nice and asked if we'd been here a while.  He didn't actually apologize for the wait but it was implied so we moved past it.  I ordered some fried crawfish for an appetizer and the Cajun Skillet.  Steph wasn't in the mood for her usual seafood combo platter so she decided to get the burger.  We'll get to that mushy mess shortly.  Things were looking up and the anticipation of tasty Cajun food was in the air.

It took a little while for the crawfish to arrive but when they did we dug in.  As with all of Razzoo's fried foods they were breaded nicely and seasoned according to the protein inside.  That's one of the things that stands out at Razzoo's, each food is well thought out.  The shrimp has a different batter than the crawfish and the catfish has a different batter than the gator tail.  But each works in it's own special way.  Not very long after the appetizer arrived our entrees were brought out.  They've never really timed things well at Razzoo's so we expect that.  It's more like eating a feast than a properly coursed meal anyway.  As the waiter said after he sat down the food, "Dig in ya'll."

My Cajun Skillet was everything I expected and cooked very well.  The shrimp weren't rubbery and it was all piping hot.  I dug in.  Steph's burger on the other hand was one big mess.  It's a big thick patty but they must make them from a mix of ground beef and water because it was just mushy.  And she ordered it medium rare, which they gladly said they would do, but given the quality of the meat it was more of a tepid brown ooze.  Forget a nice cool pink in the middle with a little blood and juice running out.  She orders her burgers plain so it made the whole thing rather one note.  Mush.  The bacon wasn't crispy either but that's probably more of a personal preference.

Overall my food was about what we expect from Razzoo's but I'll have to say that serving Steph that mushy burger for $9 bucks really didn't sit well.  The meat tastes better at good ol' Mickey D's.  So take my advice here and stick to the Razzoo's classic menu and you'll be happy as an order of fried clams.

Tomorrow is my birthday so I'll see you Monday.  Have a great one.

Razzoo's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rockin' Tomato lives up to it's name

I've been hitting Rockin' Tomato since 2005 and it's quality has been filled with highs and lows.  I believe these fluctuations over the years have been the result of ownership changes.  I'm happy to report the current crew has redeemed themselves after many years and I'm happy about that.  Here's a little history of the Rockin' Tomato Pizza located next to the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek.

When Steph and I were first married we started a tradition of going to the Rockin' Tomato every Tuesday.  We'd get the Carnivore and a couple Cokes, read the Austin Chronicle and talk about our day.  It was something to look forward to and we enjoyed every minute of it.  Over time the waitress, a typical Austinite with tattoo sleeves and a warm smile, didn't even come over to take our order.  She would just yell, "HI!" and bring our drinks. We knew the pizza would be out shortly.  It was our version of Cheers and we liked it.  The Carnivore is your standard, throw every meat on it, pie with a slightly spicy sauce and just enough cheese.  Steph would say it didn't have quite enough cheese but she'd probably say that while drowning in a sea of cheese so take that with a grain of salt.  I can't say how long we held this weekly pizza court but it was probably over a year.  Then everything changed.  The Rockin' Tomato switched owners and all of the sudden our little girl wasn't there to greet us, we had to order up front at the counter and the ingredients were sourced from a different distributor.  Devastation.  We tried it a few times after the change but it just wasn't the same.  The bacon was in these big chunks, the sausage just wasn't good and overall the pie was just too salty.  We didn't go back for years.

Fast forward to today.  I wanted pizza but didn't want to go to our normal hangout, Conan's, so Steph suggested we see if Rockin' Tomato had changed since last we visited.  I longed for the old days, the happy chatter, the good times we'd had at Rockin' Tomato so I jumped at the opportunity.  I'm happy to say they have made some changes and we enjoyed our experience.  You still order at the front, and that's OK, but the big change is the pizza is much better now.  They've either gone back to the old toppings vendor or gotten another one but whatever happened the toppings are back to being a nice blend of meaty, spicy, not too salty, excellence.  I was so happy that I raised my lighter high and lit it as the live band did a nice cover of Journey's Faithfully.  And at that point I knew I was home again after all those years of searching for a new pizza place.

Rockin' Tomato I'm forever yours again.  Don't screw it up this time.

Rockin Tomato on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Torchy's delights and Gourdough's charms even the most Crass of men

A couple of months ago an old friend from Tulsa came down to see the last U.S. tour of Steve Ignorant and his band Crass.  He brought a couple of buddies and they hit several of the "we have everything imaginable on tap" bars we have in Austin.  At some point in the late evening we were all hungry and I was elected to take them to something uniquely Austin.  We walked up and down 6th Street but it was a Monday so some places were closed and others didn't quite appeal.  So we hit the road and ended up at the Trailer Park and Eatery on 1st Street.  Torchy's Tacos for all.  They couldn't stop talking about the flavors and textures and unique ambiance.  You have to understand these guys are big 300+, 6 foot plus mountains of laughter and mayhem.  I wasn't sure what would happen but I did know one thing.  Being outside would lessen the destruction.  We tried a wide variety of tacos at Torchy's.  The Democrat and Republican were sampled in order.  The Democrat has barbacoa while the Republican has jalapeno sausage as it's meat.  We also tried a Brush Fire made with Jamaican Jerk Chicken and a Mr. Pink with Ahi tuna.  Those are the ones I remember.  It's possible we had one of each from the menu.  They all come on two fresh tortillas of your choice, flour or corn, and served trailer style in a little paper boat as you would expect.  Everything is fresh and delicious and if you saw the look on those guy's faces you would know it puts a smile on the biggest of faces.

We finished our tacos at Torchy's and after contemplating the giant, gold painted, toy and found object relief art wall sculpture for quite a while it was time for some dessert.  We headed over to Gourdough's on Lamar.  I don't know what it is about Gourdough's but they have some of the richest, flavorful doughnut concoctions I've ever tried.  This isn't your normal dozen at Krispy Kreme, each doughnut is fried fresh to order and piled with the toppings of your choice.  More like an ice creme sundae in a way.  In fact I think they have an ice creme sundae doughnut.  I had the "Black Out", it's a doughnut covered with brownie batter, fudge icing and chocolate covered brownie bites.  Yes, it's rich and you should probably share it.  I was with a bunch of guys, we ordered separately.  Joe had the Funky Monkey with grilled bananas, cream cheese icing and brown sugar.  Chris had the Son of a Peach, I think, it's doughnut covered in peach filling, cinnamon, sugar and cake mix topping.  Rich had a cigarette, he's more of a beer guy.  We didn't give him too much grief.

By now it was getting late and they had already driven 8 hours that day so we called it a night.  They went to Juan in a Million the next morning but that story will have to be for another day.

Gourdough's on Urbanspoon

Torchy's Tacos on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Notch now takes credit cards and is still, well, top notch

The first time I went to Top Notch was many years ago with a guy from work.  The place screamed 1972 from it's earthy orange shades to it's wall mounted examples of barbed wire.  They even took your order on those little paper tablets.  It reminded me of when I worked at a hamburger joint, but we added everything up in our heads.  No calculators, just pencil and paper.  It was lunch time so we had to stand in line for a few minutes and that's when I realized they only took cash.  If you needed cash you could just turn around and use the cash machine on the opposite wall behind you.  We didn't take credit cards or checks either but that was back in the 1980's, this is 2004.  Since then the restaurant has changed hands, sadly due to the death of the original owner, but thankfully the new owners haven't changed much.  And the changes I noticed are all to the good side.

You can still get the single patty burger or the double burger if you're hungry.  You can still get chicken, though I've never tried it so I guess that needs to go on the list.  They still have those good fries and excellent onion rings.  But now they offer tater tots and they take credit cards.  Top Notch is now in the 20th century.  I didn't notice if they had wifi yet.  That would be too much for a grumpy fat man to handle.

Today I had the Longhorn Special as it comes with lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese and their special sauce.  It's double meat too.  Steph had the same but plain.  The patties are thin, like the old drive in days, and they toast the buns before dressing them out.  Steph had tater tots and was really happy they put them on the menu.  She even mentioned how Top Notch always seemed like they would have tater tots but never did until now.  While the patties are thin they are still nice and juicy.  It just doesn't take as long to cook them and get them out to you.  If you're in a hurry at lunch time you can still get a superior burger without having to wait forever.

I've noticed they are having different promotions at Top Notch these days.  A car show, watch a movie outside, live music.  They're really pushing this place as a mecca of fun and good eats.  I'd say they're doing the original owner proud and to that I salute you Top Notch.  Oh, before I forget, you can see Top Notch on the big screen in the movie Dazed and Confused so it's a bit famous to boot.

That's it.  Cut....

Top Notch on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chuy's sets the bar but gets no love from foodies

Foodies are a funny lot and I hesitate to throw my name into that pot.  I've never found a group that so wants to hate on chain stores more than the food crowd.  And I'm not talking just fast food.  If there is more than one restaurant by the same name they will normally write it off without regard and I just don't understand why.  But they probably don't agree with the grumpy fat man either so to each their own I guess.  Let's talk Chuy's Tex Mex!

When I first moved down to Austin I ate at Chuy's every now and then but didn't think much of it.  Being from Tulsa I've feasted at my fair share of high quality Tex Mex restaurants.  Some chains, some local.  I've also found several bad ones.  You know, the ones that will serve you taquitos from Sam's Club and call it home cooking.  Fortunately those places never last.  Over the years I've come to love Chuy's for all it is and all it offers.  Where else can you get a potato chip crusted chicken breast or a big as yo' face burrito?  Well sure there are probably others that offer these items but Chuy's has been fairly consistent over the years.  I've had a few bad waiters and 2009 wasn't their best year for cooks but overall they do a great job.  Nobody's perfect but I get the sense that they are trying.  If you've been reading me for a while you'll know what I'm talking about.

This evening I had the lime and hatch green chile sauced cheese enchilada and chicken chile relleno.  It's part of their annual hatch green chile festival menu.  I always get sucked in to the festival and while the food is good and the flavors are still bold it's just not me.  I like the #1 combo and for me it always sets the bar.  The taco is full of spicy ground beef, the two cheese enchiladas are sauced with that wonderful chili gravy, those big chips dipped in queso sauce, the chicken taquitos... beans... rice... I'm full already.  I always consider getting the smaller dish but really for the extra buck why not enjoy all those flavors.  And don't forget the creamy jalapeno ranch with your chips. And the regular salsa is good too.  Nice and chunky with just the right amount of heat and twang.  They just do all their flavors right at Chuy's.

I've seen many terrible reviews about Chuy's but if you spend the time to read them it always seems to end with either the guy has a bad stomach and can't even take relatively light spiciness of the rice or they just want to push their favorite taco trailer that really isn't all that good anyway.  My point?  Foodies always have an agenda and are quite full of themselves when they tell you about their superior palate.  I rarely find those reviews helpful and that's one reason I write.  I try to give an honest description of the restaurant, the food and the experience.  If I'm not doing that then I'm not doing my job.  And that's where you come in.  If I'm not doing my job you should let me know.

And with that rant I'll see you tomorrow.

Chuy's (Arboretum) on Urbanspoon    Chuy's (Barton Springs) on Urbanspoon    Chuy's (North Austin) on Urbanspoon    Chuy's (Round Rock) on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 16, 2011

Salt Lick Barbecue is certainly good but does it live up to the hype?

I think everyone has heard of the Salt Lick Barbecue in Driftwood, TX. Everywhere I go I'm asked if I've been there since I live so close.  Steph and I ventured out to the Salt Lick on a lazy Saturday afternoon not knowing what we were getting ourselves into.  You really have to be prepared for such an occasion or it won't be very pleasant.  Listen to me now my children so you won't make the same mistakes as I have.

Going to the Salt Lick is like attending a pastoral game, like baseball.  It starts and ends on it's own time.  You can't rush it so just relax and enjoy the day.  That said, don't show up hungry.  Bring something to snack on if you think you'll get hungry in the next hour or two.  Salt Lick is all about hanging around and waiting.  Given that truth you should bring good friends.  And the talkative kind.  You're going to need some good conversation while you wait so it may as well be interesting and funny.  Or whatever you enjoy, it's your day.  I'm told you can bring your own ice chest.  You may as well take advantage of that and fill it with your favorite beverages and snacks.  While you're sitting around with good friends laughing and joking why not enjoy a nice ice cold beverage.  Especially in the heat we've been having around here.  So now you are having a good time talking to good friends, enjoying a nice cold beverage and forgetting about the wait.  You're on your way to a good time.

Now they call your name and take you to your picnic table.  Take advantage of the fact you just waited a long time to get some good grub and order a little extra.  Why not! It's Salt Lick.  This is more of an event than a mere dining experience.  Load up.  I ordered some brisket, sausage and pork ribs while Steph took pork ribs, turkey and chicken.  We shared and enjoyed a little of everything.  The plates come with potato salad, cole slaw and beans so you'll have plenty to go with the meat.

I'm told Salt Lick is the last place to keep an open pit going.  I didn't see it this day but I have seen it many times on the TV.  It looks amazing with all that delicious meat slow cooking and smoking to perfection.  It could make a grumpy fat man cry tears of joy.

It doesn't take long to get your food once you're seated but the staff doesn't rush you either.  Again, sit back and enjoy the experience.  You waited for it so no need to rush through it.  Enjoy every single savory bite.  I thought the brisket was excellent.  A nice smoke ring and moist but not to the point of tasting like roast beef as some places serve.  The sausage was pretty standard in texture and flavor so I liked it just fine.  The pork ribs were fall off the bone delicious with plenty of flavor.  I even enjoyed the turkey and chicken with their smoky flavor.  They do everything just right at the Salt Lick.  It's no wonder they have such a good reputation.

Let's talk about their sauce for a minute. It's very unique as far as I'm concerned.  They add a little mustard to the mix so you get a nice tangy, peppery flavor like a Texas sauce should have but add a little mustard note to that flavor.  I can't say it will ever be my favorite but you'll know you're at the Salt Lick when you taste it.

So that's it.  Do they live up to the hype?  The answer is yes, if you know how to take advantage of what the Salt Lick has to offer.  Give it a try if only to say you've been there.

Have a great weekend!

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wrap it up or run around naked, Qdoba let's you do both

Qdoba is one of those places I always forget about.  I don't know why but they just don't stay on my mind like that Windsong song in the commercial.  Qdoba is one of those upscale casual places the corporations are trying to push these days.  The ingredients are a little better, the ambiance is a little nicer and the prices are a little more.  It's still counter service and you get your own drinks but pay about a buck or two less than comparable sit down and save the tip.  In these tough times it sometimes just makes sense.

Qdoba is all about burritoes, tacos and no tortilla versions of Tex-Mex/Mexican.  They are basically the same as Chipotle and Freebirds except their menu pushed you toward certain flavor combinations rather than letting you make them up yourself.  The Queso Burrito only has beef or chicken, the Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito only has pork or chicken.  You get the idea.  They have the same rice, beans and all the different veg to finish the creation so you still get to make like you like it. I had the Queso Burrito and Steph ( She's Fed Up in Austin ) had the Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito.  They were both served up fat and full of delicious fresh ingredients from the same person that made them.  All with a smile.  So far, so good. We filled our drinks and found a table.  I grabbed a bottle of Tabasco on the way just in case I wanted to turn up the heat.

I found the beef to be tender and in little chunks.  They put plenty in the burrito but I wouldn't say it's too much.  The lightly seasoned rice wasn't mushy so that was good and the pinto beans had a little seasoning to them which added an extra level of flavor.  The pico de gallo and lettuce tasted fresh and the jalapeno salsa had a little heat to it along with a nice spicy flavor.  It was a flavor sort of between salsa for chips and salsa to sauce a burrito.  I thought the burrito as a whole was well balanced.  I did end up using the Tabasco.  Maybe I'll try their Habanero based sauce next time.  I usually find those just hot with not much flavor but hey maybe Qdoba will surprise me.

Steph had the Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito.  It was too big for her to finish but she did enjoy it.  Steph had the pork which looked nice and moist.  She didn't mention it being tough, like at Chipotle, so that was a plus one for Qdoba.  She gets her burritos rather plain so only the rice, black beans and a little cheese to go with the pork and BBQ sauce.  The only complaints were her tortilla was a little wet and it was too big to eat by hand.  My tortilla was a little wet too but it was nice and fresh otherwise.  Maybe they just left it in the steamer a little too long.  And they are big.  I had to eat mine like a typewriter.  Start at one end and move from left to right.  It worked out pretty well for me.

Now you've probably been thinking, what's up with this naked thing?  Well, at Qdoba they cater to the low carb people so you can get most anything without the tortilla.  They just put it in a bowl.  That's probably not a bad idea for the Grumpy Fat Man to consider.  Maybe I'll try a naked burrito next time.

Until tomorrow keep your chips dry and your salsa muy caliente...

Qdoba on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moonshine Restaurant Patio Bar and Grill, a name only a focus group could love

Steph and I went downtown on a lazy Saturday afternoon to try Moonshine Restaurant Patio Bar and Grill.  The first thing I noticed was the name sounds like a bunch of corporate types did a focus group to find the best name for a comfort food restaurant in Austin, Texas that would resonate with the public and was also search engine friendly.  They even make a point on their web site to tell us the word Moonshine is their registered trademark.  I hoped that their chef, if they even had a head chef since they don't mention one on the extensive web site, cared as much about the food as the business side does about marketing.  So far I'm not impressed, let's talk about the building.

Moonshine Restaurant Patio Bar and Grill is at the corner of Red River and 3rd Street.  Right across the street from the Convention Center.  They say the building was constructed in 1860 and give a very extensive history on their website.  I think it's on their menu too.  Makes for a good conversation starter I suppose.  They have a nice front porch with a long row of rocking chairs.  I sat and rocked while we waited for our table while staring patiently at the east wall of the Convention Center.  Every now and then a smoker would come out and blow a big puff of smoke on me.  I used to smoke so I'm not hating on smokers but they really should be a little more considerate.  Sitting, waiting, it's hot and I don't know the chef's name.  This isn't going so well but I'm optimistic at this point.

It took about an hour to get our table, they were very busy, and we were seated right next to the wait station.  Cue butts in faces for the entire meal.  It's a good thing this was just lunch instead of attempting a relaxing dinner.  They were busy and we'd already waited an hour.  Let's just see if these people can cook.

They start you out with a bucket of cayenne popcorn.  It was nice and salty with a bit of burn.  Just what I needed after sitting on the porch for an hour in the heat.  Luckily they brought water soon after the popcorn.  Steph stuck with water and I ordered an iced tea.  I don't remember them asking if I wanted sweet tea so I guess they only have unsweetened.  So much for being a Southern style restaurant.  These people must be from the city.  We start with the spinach and artichoke fondue.

YES!  The appetizer was excellent.  Nice and creamy with plenty of mozzarella cheese to make it a bit stringy and gooey at the same time.  They serve it with big squares of toasted bread, like one inch squares.  Now things are starting to pick up.  My water and tea glass are empty though.  It was hot outside and I'm still thirsty but it didn't take long to get refills.  We are almost done with our tasty appetizer, well we were out of dipping bread, when the entrees came.  Steph had the chicken fried steak with chipotle cream gravy with hand cut fries and baked macaroni gratin.  I ordered the smoked half chicken with Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce.  We dug in.

Steph loved her chicken fried steak.  She said it was seasoned nicely, the crust had a little crunch to it and the steak itself was tender and moist.  No sign of that chewy gristle that can ruin a good chicken fried steak experience.  She wasn't too hot on the fries but I knew that before they came out.  Moonshine hand cuts their fries but they are the big beefy taste a little like a baked potato kind.  Steph doesn't like them like that and they went down in her fries list that way.  The macaroni gratin needed some salt but otherwise was eaten with pleasure.

I thought my smoked half chicken was on the dry side.  Perhaps that's why they serve it with the Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce.  It was a good barbeque sauce but I really couldn't taste the Dr. Pepper in it so I racked that up to more marketing than describing the actual food.  My mashed potatoes were good and I really liked my red beans and rice.  They were seasoned perfectly with a nice balance of creamy and toothy texture.

The staff was great.  They always had a smile on their face and we didn't really have to wait long for anything.  Considering how busy they were I would have given them some slack.

Upon reflection I'm still undecided about Moonshine.  They have some high notes but I don't know if they overcome the lows.  In the grand scheme of quality, service and price I'm going to have to ask them to raise the bar before I'll be back.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ahh Yee dis pizza be good ya'll at de Cajun Pizza Place

I'm not one to make fun of a person's accent, my dad had a thick accent himself that some couldn't quite understand, but when you enter the Cajun Pizza Place you know you're in the midst of some hardcore Cajuns.  And these Cajuns know how to make a good pie.  The place is tucked away in a little shopping center across the street from The Water Tank on McNeil just a bit east of 183.  Go north at the light and you'll see it.  The windows are tinted a bit so if it's late and it looks dark don't worry, they're open.

They have more than pizza on the menu but that's all I've had so that's all you get today.  I've seen a gumbo special sign several times and they have sandwiches on the menu.  Those shrimp po'boy kind of sandwiches.  I've heard from a NOLA transplant that they're good and traditional so I'll take his word on that.  Now back to the pizza.  They do the cracker crust at Cajun Pizza Place and for my money it's perfect.  Actually, I'm still trying to work out how they keep it from getting soggy as they cook it.  They pile the toppings on but only to the point where everything is in harmony.  Each savory bite is the perfect combination of crispy crust, melty cheese, spicy meats and veg.  And they are completely consistent now that I think about it.  We've had at least six pies there and they are always the same.  My uncle would respect their portion control.  Another thing I like about the Cajun Pizza Place is their soda machine is nice a strong.  No weak and watery soda here so it stands up to the pie.  They also offer beer and wine if you so desire something a little stronger.

The staff has always been nice and efficient though it seems like there's a new girl working every time we eat there.  Whatever the case they always have a smile on their face and appreciate the business so that always makes me want to come back and have another pie.  One day I'm going to try that gumbo though because it really sounds good.

Ya'll come back now and I'll see ya tomorrow.

Cajun Pizza Place on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hyde Park Bar and Grill keeps Austin a little weird

Hyde Park Bar and Grill is one of those places that I find uniquely Austin.  They try to please the everyone from the meat and potatoes cowboys to the hippy dippy Birkenstock crowd and all stops in between.  While their reputation seems to be solidly staked on their fries I've found many dishes to be more than pleasing.  And a few that were completely disappointing.  Let's start with the good stuff.

If you've never had a knife and fork hamburger then you really should try The Horseshoe.  It's a 1/2 pound patty of ground sirloin cooked to order resting on a slice of Texas toast and a ladle of cheese sauce.  Then they pile an order of their fries completely over the burger like a freshly fried tent.  But they're only getting started.  Add another ladle of cheese sauce on top of the fries and throw on some diced tomatoes and scallions.  "Oh.... My.... Goodness....", as Steph would say as they served it up.  This is one big plate of heaven.

They also have a good "Reuben" style sandwich.  It's not traditional but it is very tasty.  They use Pastrami as the meat which has a wonderful flavor and add a good portion of sauerkraut with all of its tangy goodness.  It comes on rye bread and the whole thing is toasted in a little butter.  There isn't a dressing on it so order what you like but the last time I asked they didn't have Russian dressing.  I used their Hyde Park sauce instead.  It's what they serve with the fries.  I was having an if in Rome moment.

If you're looking for a standard meat and potatoes fare look no further than the chicken fried steak or chicken breast.  Both of these fine Southern delicacies are fried up in the deep frier fresh and tender then plated with their famous french fries and one more side.  I always get collard greens with bacon bits.  I love greens and they're extra health too.  Perhaps that's Popeye the Sailor Man talking.

Now for the vegetarians in the crowd.  Hyde Park used to make a hummus burger in house that I had more than once but sadly I didn't see it on the menu the last time I went.  They added a Fried Eggplant sandwich though but I haven't tried that yet.  They also have several other no meat sandwiches like the Gardenburger which you can get anywhere and the Pimento Cheese and Cucumber sandwich.  For a meal they offer a Vegetable Stir Fry that I've heard is good but I can't say I've tried that and spinach or eggplant pastas.  OK, so I'm not doing a good job selling them on the vegetarian side.  Sorry, it's not my thing.  But I've noticed they are trying so if you're cutting back on the meat you might want to try a dish.  I do the no-meat thing at least once a week myself.  They say it helps the environment and does wonders for overall health.  I don't know about all of that I just like vegetables.

Hyde Park also has a good selection of wines to go with your meal and a small but interesting dessert menu.  They are good for both lunch and dinner and their prices fair for the quality and service.  The service, now that I've mentioned it, has always been excellent.  I can't think of a time when the staff was rude, or slacking, or frazzled.  Always great and always pro.  You have to love that in a restaurant.

Well I guess I won't get to Hyde Park's few short comings today.  Let's just say they are few and far between.  They have two locations, one is in the Hyde Park area and the other is down south.  I haven't noticed a difference in their menus but the south location is a little bigger and has easy parking.  The Hyde Park location is more trendy but parking can sometimes be challenging.  I'll say they are equal in taste and service.

So until tomorrow Bon Appetite.

If you want to see pics and get a different perspective on Hyde Park Grill just visit Steph's blog: Hyde Park Grill South

Hyde Park Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon  Hyde Park Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 9, 2011

Taco Bell is my second pick for fast food Mexican but that's just fine

I've probably said this a hundred times so far but being from Tulsa you grow to love Taco Bueno as fast food heaven. As opinions go they are my favorite fast food restaurant of all time. That being said I don't have the opportunity for Taco Bueno as often in Austin so Taco Bell is a good substitute. They are always friendly, clean and fast. Not to mention the food isn't bad for what it is.

Taco Bell is another place where you should forget about the combos. They usually aren't the best deal. Lately Taco Bell has a separate set of combos for two bucks that are good and their dollar menu is always on my list. The two buck combos come with one entree plus a drink and bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. I usually get the double decker taco combo and add a taco or bean burrito to fill me up. And the double decker taco is like a bean burrito and taco all in one so I'm really getting three entrees. Sometimes it's a little too much I will admit. Now the drink is a small so you might have to get up to refill it more often but saving a couple bucks over the other combos and specialty items is worth it to me. Sometimes I'll order a specialty thinking it sounds good but they never really live up to the picture. One day I'll learn to stick with the basics and be happy.

So that's it for fast food week on the grumpy fat man blog. Hope you enjoyed it and I'll be back next week with reviews and muses about my food cravings.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Long John Silver's be good fishin' say I

Arrr ye mateys it's time to talk like a pirate and eat some British fast food. I remember the first time I walked into a Long John Silver's back in the 70's. Back when they still had the nautical theme. That smell of grease and fish, but mostly grease, always takes me back to that memory. The captain's chairs, the big rope, the browns and blue tones on the walls. But the thing I loved most about Long John Silver's was those crispy bits they would add to your plate. Sure it was just the extra batter from frying the fish but that really made the meal for me as a kid. OK, that was back when they battered the fish at the restaurant too so they've lost most of their appeal already and I haven't even gotten to the next paragraph. Still, I love the taste of their fish even today and never miss a side of clams. It's a bit salty and it's deep fried but who doesn't love some good olde fish and chips every now and then.

These days I have to drive up to Cedar Park to get my LJS fix. They've teamed up with A&W Root Beer so you can get burgers, hot dogs, fish, chicken, etc. I guess you could call them kid friendly though I've never seen a kid in the place. They probably just get the food to go.

We've had our ups and downs at the Cedar Park location. 90% of the time the staff is fine. They greet you and ask what they can get for you but that's about it. You can ring the bell when you leave but that usually gets the obligatory "thanks" that feels like it's said by a smart alec teen. We had one big blow up where the girl literally threw a dollar on the counter when we asked about the pricing of an item. "There, take your dollar" or some version of that was said. It was actually more than a dollar but why quibble about change. We had to complain to corporate on that one. They gave us a free meal for the outburst but even the manager wasn't particularly friendly. But again, this is fast food week so really you get what you pay for so take all this with that caveat in mind.

Actually, Steph has started getting me to drive up to Round Rock to their Long John Silver's. I'll have to admit they provide a more pleasant experience overall and the staff seems a bit happier.

Well mateys that be all me writing for today. A hearty fare thee well to ya...

Long John Silver's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Burger King still kicking out flame broiled goodness

If there's one thing that sets all the other fast food burger joints apart is flame broiling.  Burger King has hooked me on their flame broiled burgers since I was a kid.  Well, that and getting the paper crown which is almost as fun as the paper pirate's hat at Long John Silver's.  Mmm, remember when they put all those extra crunchy bits on the plate at LJS?  And when you walked into an LJS you could just feel the grease in the air.  Oops, that's a blog for another time.  Today is all about Burger King.

Here's one thing I've found about Burger King.  Don't order the combos.  They aren't a good deal.  Order off the dollar menu and save a few bucks.  It's fast food, so who cares if you can afford the giant Texas Double Whopper daddy warbucks, save a few bucks to eat somewhere nice tomorrow.  I normally eat at the Burger King in Cedar Park or at the corner of 183 and Anderson Mill.  Both of these locations have great service with a smile and a friendly "have a good day!" as you leave.  They are both spotless no matter if it's lunch rush or a slow afternoon plus they are fast and to this day have never gotten my order wrong.  And I might add the Chocolate Shakes are really good for the price.

Now to ordering.  I usually get a couple BK Singles for a buck each.  If it's really hot outside I'll get a medium chocolate shake.  That will run you less than five bucks.  If you want fries or onion rings just add on another buck.  I usually don't get fries or rings since the grumpy fat man should watch his weight a little better.  And well, that chocolate shake isn't helping my girlish figure either.  At least I'm cutting out something so don't judge. : )  If you're a more petite size then just get one burger and you'll probably be full.  Whatever you order just remember to look over at the dollar menu.

If you want to relive a little of your childhood I've noticed some Burger Kings offer Icees now.  If you don't know what an Icee is then first of all take my heartfelt apology for missing out on one of the greatest childhood memories.  That first brain freeze from an Icee.  It's just a slushy frozen Coke or other flavor but it really hits the spot on a hot summer day.  Try one the next time you go to Burger King and throw a few pickles on the windows to watch them race.  Hey, everyone needs to act a little childish every now and then.  And if you get caught just bolt out the door and run until you have to stop.  It's fun and you'll just laugh after you cough up all the junk in your lungs from sitting around all day. : )  Hey, I'm here to keep you healthy one shenanigan at a time.

And speaking of shenanigans I have a few to get into so that's all for now.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jack in the Box jumped out and surprised me

OK, first of all how do you say Jack in the Box in it's plural form?  Is it Jack in the Boxes or Jacks in the Box?  I spent hours talking to my brightest friends and we came to the conclusion that it should be Jack in the Boxes.  So with that said I've noticed that all the Jack in the Boxes are getting new signage and refurbishments.  I've always liked Jack in the Box for what it is but I still miss the old days when they had that weird 1000 island like dressing on their burgers. I guess it was more like 1000 island with a little mustard thrown in.  It just made them a little different.

The new Jack in the Box has many reasons to pick them if you're looking for fast food.  They're fast, they have several different burgers and they serve breakfast all day.  Not to mention they're 24/7 so you can always get something there if you're staying up late writing blogs.  Two kinds of fries, curly and regular is a nice touch too.  Did I mention they have one of those 101 different choices soda machines?  In all fairness those machines just make everything taste a little off but for some reason I feel like a kid in a candy store when I walk up to it at Jack in the Box.  Probably because I'm eating inside and they aren't too busy so I don't feel rushed.

Today I had a sourdough bacon cheeseburger, curly fries and a diet root beer.  Then a Fanta grape and then a diet Dr. Pepper to take home.  I took full advantage of my free refills and their 101 choices.  The burger was fine for a fast food burger.  Crunchy toasted sourdough bread, a rather dry burger patty, decent bacon slice.  I didn't really notice the cheese.  The curly fries are one of my favorites.  I like that spicy coating they put on them.  That's really all I can say about the food, it's fast and cheap so the bar isn't high from the start.  The crew is friendly and a nice touch I've noticed about Jack in the Box is they will call your order and wait until you walk up and get it.  They even ask if you need anything extra like jelly for Steph's breakfast sandwich.  She didn't need it but it was a nice touch.  Some sit down restaurants have worse service.

Well that it's for today.  Don't forget to sing Pop Goes the Weasel whenever you pass a Jack in the Box.  It'll make your day a little brighter. : )

Jack in the Box on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 5, 2011

McDonald's why?

There are three things that make McDonald's appealing. They're clean, they're consistent and they're friendly. Not at the one on the corner of Parmer and McNeil. Let's review all the things that are wrong over the last few times I've been there.

1. Shake machine is always broken.
2. Every table dirty. And sadly this isn't an exaggeration.
3. Often out of ketchup in the dispenser.
4. Never say "Thanks" or "Hi" In general they act like you should just leave.

That's just not the McDonald's I remember growing up. Even the people coming in the store look like they aren't happy to be there.

McDonald's used to be a happy place where the worries of the world ceased, if only for a moment, at the door. Now they just remind me of all that is wrong in the world.

Debbie Downer out. Sorry I can't find anything good to say so I'm keeping it short.

McDonald's on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 2, 2011

Peanut Butter and Provolone Part Two

A little while back I wrote about peanut butter and provolone sandwiches.  An old friend said he was eating one and it started me thinking about how little this kid's staple is used in actual meals.  I know they use peanuts in Chinese, Thai and other Asian dishes, I know it's used in all varieties of dessert and Barbara Mandrell even sang about putting them in her Coke.  So why not on a sandwich?  Well, I gave it try on a pulled pork rib sandwich and it wasn't bad.  Here's how I made it and my thoughts on the outcome.

The Peanuts in my Coke pulled pork rib sandwich

Take enough pork rib meat to feed your guest and throw it in a crockpot.  Then take a bottle of Coke and pour until the meat is covered.  I used regular Coke which has corn syrup for sweetener but I think it will be a little better if you used Coke based on cane sugar.  Turn the crockpot on low and forget about it until evening.

About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, and assuming it's been long enough to cook the meat as I left it in for about 8 hours, pull out that rib meat and pull all the meat off the bone.  It should just slide right off.  Then talk a chopping knife and cut down the big pieces.  The meat is ready for the pan.  If you're going to make sides, I made a soupy mac-n-cheese to go with the sandwich, then give yourself time to get them going.  That's why I suggested 30 minutes prior to eating.  You'll have to adjust to your needs here.

After you have your sides ready or at least close, throw all that meat in a hot pan with some of the liquid from the crockpot and cook it down to caramelize those sugars.  I even reduced another batch of Coke from the crockpot for dipping.  This helped with the dryish nature of the peanut butter and the toasted bread.  I'll get to that later.  While that meat sizzling and those sugars are caramelizing you can finish up your sides and start plating everything.  I toasted the buns for my sandwiches but I think it would be good just steamed.  I found the combination of peanut butter and the dry toasted bun to make the sandwich a little dry.   The dipping juice make from reducing the Coke helped counter the dryness.  There are several other ways I can think of but I'll leave it for you do decide the best way to make your sandwich.

I was a little surprised how well the peanut butter blended with the meat.  You'd think one would overpower the other but they really did complement each other.  I also noted that the meat didn't pick up as much sweetness from the Coke as I would have liked so that Coke reduction helped bring a better balance overall.

Well I hope you are now inspired to make your own experimental sandwich.  If you do I'd like to hear about it.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Arpeggio Grill hits all the notes

One of my first memories of eating out is the smell of gyros cooking on that vertical spit and wondering how those green beans tasted since they didn't look anything like my mother made them.  I guess that's why I've always had a love for the tastes of the Mediterranean.  Steph suggested The Arpeggio Grill when I told her I needed a gyro and you could say they saved this grumpy fat man from the beast of hunger.  I promise to leave the bad puns aside for a moment.

The Arpeggio Grill is in a small shopping strip a little north of Highland Mall on Airport Blvd.  Their sign isn't huge so you might miss them the first time but never the second.  The outside has many of those "Greek" looking window ads you may have seen before and the shear number of different fonts will make an advertising major cringe but these become endearing as the members of this family owned business warmly invite you into their home.  And it rather looks like a home with a large dining area and even a more traditional looking low table, cushions and seating for an even more authentic meal.

As I mention a gentleman greeted us and explained the lunch special, pointed out the other items on the menu and was happy to pronounce, describe and explain all the different dishes they offered.  I really felt like he was an ambassador to the tastes of far away lands and we were merely weary travelers who stumbled into his restaurant.  At some point you should yell "and scene" so I'll stop making this some kind of screen play.  I ordered the lunch special.  It comes with a greek salad, basically a fresh garden salad, with a cucumber and yogurt dressing.  It was delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day.  They also offered a Greek vinaigrette with feta cheese but I didn't try it.  Maybe next time.  Then you get to pick three additional side items and one meat.  Of course I chose gyros for the meat.  In their case it's lamb but gyros can be made from any meat, just FYI.  The portion was a nice size and plenty for an adult but if you expect a Texas size then you might be disappointed.  For the price it's nothing to gripe about. They had about a dozen choices for sides so I just picked the first three that looked good.  My first pick was dolma, it's a mixture of vegetables rolled up in a grape leaf.  For me the predominate flavor was olive but it was a light olive flavor.  I thought they were tasty.  The next side was baba ghanouj which is a puree of eggplant with other vegetables.  It's kind of bland, or should I say it has a delicate flavor, but goes well with the fresh breads you get with the meal.  My last side was fattoush which was just a different style of salad.  It's more shredded than the Greek salad and has some kind of herb dressing that gives it a little kick.

Steph stuck to her meat and potato ways and ordered a beef shawerma, sans veg, and ate it with just the cucumber yogurt dressing.  For the price this was a huge sandwich.  Beef shawerma is marinated strips of charbroiled beef on a large piece of pita bread spread with a little hummus and topped with lettuce, onion and tomato.  It's basically a Mediterranean beef fajita taco.  She said it was well seasoned and she even liked the dressing, it's not normal for her to like anything "green."  The sandwich was so big in fact that she gave me several bites of it since she couldn't finish.  I thought the beef was tender and flavorful though nothing jumped out at me, just a nice arpeggio of flavors dancing together in harmony.

Since it's Ramadan they don't current offer table service but I believe they are normally a sit down restaurant.  I think it was easier to get the lunch special on the line over sitting down anyway so that all works out.  We were going to try their baklava for dessert but the meals were enough and we didn't have room.  Maybe next time I'll order some sides to go and save room.

Until next time, ila Al Leka'

Arpeggio Grill on Urbanspoon