Posts Tagged With: Restaurant

Restaurant Review: Lucky’s Cafe, Tremont (Cleveland, Ohio)

Something’s missing…a picture, I know.  Sidebar: I have a really retarded “smart” phone these days that decided to delete all my contacts one day.  I found a back door way to get them back by downloading them and importing them into my Google account and then syncing Google to my phone (all because my loving carrier told me when I complained that my phone was a piece of junk that I really should just buy a new one because mine it “old”).  Pshhhhhh.  So that little import and sync trick worked for a couple days until my phone told me my data was full…it wasn’t.  It got to the point that I couldn’t open text messages so I decided to factory reset my phone.  I took out my memory card with all of my pictures, reset my phone and tada – phone was “fixed!”  Problem solved…until a couple days later when my phone started throwing errors when I wanted to answer phone calls and then decided to reformat my memory card FOR ME.  How nice.  NOT.  It deleted every single picture…even the cheesy ones that are supposed to be preloaded on the dumb thing.  And with it went my pictures from Lucky’s Cafe.  Sorry about all of our luck – you can’t see my crumby cell phone picture of my lunch.  I’m going to buy a new phone now…

All that said, I’ve been having a daily debate in my head…iPhone or Droid?  I won’t tell you what I have now (although, I’m sure you can guess), but I can’t decide what’s best for me.  Yes, I’m a software analyst during the day, but I’m really the worst IT person EVER.  I break technology like its my business and really couldn’t care less about computers outside of work.  Bottom line, you won’t see me developing apps in my spare time unless hell freezes over despite Branden’s pleading (there’s good money in app development, in case you didn’t know, especially as a side gig).

Okay, so the real reason I’m here today is to tell you about this AWESOME cafe that Branden took me too last week during a break from doctor’s appointments most likely because I was starting to get kind of whiney.  It happens to me when a certain amount of blood is extracted – whining and moping…I get crabby, too.  Its not pretty.  But this cafe is!!!

Branden travels a LOT for work (being a pilot and all) and has come to love FlavorTown USA as a resource for finding excellent local restaurants.  In case you’re wondering, YES, this is a complete listing of all the restaurants Guy Fieri has visited on his show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”  And that’s precisely how Branden found Lucky’s.  I’m a “lucky” girl!

This place is awesome!  They pride themselves on local food – so local that they have their own, rather large, garden behind the patio of the cafe that they harvest from.  While we were there, I watched an employee go out and pick Swiss Chard for their daily special.  YUM!  Their whole concept is that if they can’t get it local, they try their best to get the food from at most, 100 miles away.  It works, trust me it works.  They grow their own produce, bake their own bread, make their own dressings, sauces, CORNED BEEF!  Branden had the Reuben with their homemade bread, thousand island, and corned beef – honestly, they make it.  Check out this video clip!!

Is you mouth watering yet?!?  If not, take a trip with me to my lunch – baked mac and cheese with brie, cheddar, mozzarella, and parm – all topped with brioche bread crumbs.  Our waiter asked me if I wanted to add bacon.  BACON?  I looked him straight in the eye and asked “is that really an option?!?!”  It was, and I grabbed it by the horns!  Oh my goodness, this mac and cheese was probably the best I ever had – the combination of cheeses was incredible and they melded with the cream in this thick, creamy, gooey bowl of awesome…not to mention the salty, crunchy, thick bacon pieces!  The cheese sauce was thick, but not like glue – it was perfect.  The penne was perfectly cooked to al dente, too – which I find lots of restaurants struggle to do – I do NOT like mushy pasta!  Only downside, they made it to order and it literally came out boiling…and I burnt my tongue multiple times because I was so excited to eat it and didn’t let it cool enough.  If that’s the worst thing about Lucky’s, then I will be a repeat customer for sure!  Oh, oh, and one more thing, the side that came with my mac and cheese was homemade apple sauce (incredible, by the way!).  The waiter suggested I eat the mac and cheese mixed with the apple sauce…I’m really, really weird about my foods touching.  This was tough, but he suggested it, so I tried it.  I dipped my fork in the applesauce and then in the pasta…OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  So weird, BUT soooooo good!  Think about it, we eat apples with cheese all the time, why is this any different from and apple with cheese and crackers?  Its not.  Embrace it, please!

So, a teeny, tiny part of me is glad that I had to spend a day at the doctor’s office because that meant quality time with the hubby trying out a really great restaurant.  Its worth it if you find yourself in Cleveland to check out Lucky’s and really the rest of Tremont (its an up and coming hipster-ish area with cute cafes and shops nestled into a neighborhood).


Categories: American, Restaurants | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Giordano’s, Chicago

Its been a busy month of traveling for us again; between Branden and I, we were in California, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.  That being said, we’ve eaten out a LOT lately which is good for discovering new restaurants, but not so good for the wasteline (you’re going to see a lot of “healthy” recipes coming in the near future as I try to counteract May’s eating spree).  Last weekend we were in Chicago and found a couple gems we thought were worth sharing.

Our first Chicago adventure was to search out a traditional Chicago deep dish pizza.  Friends that live in the city suggested Giordano’s so we decided to give it a shot.  There was an incredibly long wait to get in the door, but we were able to “pre-order” our pizza so it would be ready faster when we finally were seated.  We ordered the “Tropic Delight” with pineapple, ham, and Canadian bacon, one of my favorite pizza combinations!  You can’t beat the salty ham and bacon combined with sweet tomato sauce and pineapple.  YUM!

Overall, I really liked the Chicago-style deep dish served up piping hot and flowing with gooey cheese at Giordano’s.  If you’re not a fan of TONS of cheese, this is not the place for you.  Might I suggest not eating all of the crust though?  While the crust was good, I would rather leave some room in my belly for the pizza itself.  There was so much crust that I was afraid it would swell in my stomach and my pizza nirvana would quickly come to an end.

Even though this is a tourist hot-spot, it was worth checking out to experience something Chi-town is famous for.  Branden also went in search of the best Chicago hot dog (an endeavour I did not participate in out of sheer disgust) and landed on Downtown Dog in case you’re interested.  It looked gross to me, but he loved it so much that he wanted to go back.  Sick.

Categories: Italian, Restaurants | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Restaurant Review: Fresca, Fillmore Street, San Francisco

I recently traveled to San Francisco for work and spent six days essentially exploring my way through the city via food (hence my lack of posting for the last week).  I quickly learned why so many consider San Fran a great city for foodies!

Unfortunately, I wasted my first meal in the city on some mediocre Chinese food in China Town near my hotel.  It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything to write home about either.  So moving on to dinner…My co-worker and I spent the day exploring the city (all on foot, mind you) and had worked up quite an appetite by the time we happened upon our first culinary adventure, Fresca on Fillmore Street.  This Peruvian restaurant boasted a wonderful menu of Peruvian flavors and a selection of ceviche I just had to try.  I ended up selecting a ceviche trio that consisted of the following choices, served with a basket of fresh plantain chips:

ceviche mojito – pacific cod, mint, onion, rocoto, lime juice, sea salt, choclo, rum, purple corn.

black ceviche – calamari, shrimp, scallops, clam, cilantro, squid ink rocoto sauce, red onion, lime juice, sea salt.

ceviche de coco – white tuna, lime-coconut water, mango, aji limo, ginger, onion, red peppers, basil, plantain chips.

It was hard enough to narrow down my choices from the menu to these three, so please don’t ask to me to choose my favorite one.  Each one was so different from the next that its really hard to compare even though they are all varieties of ceviche.  The Mojito Ceviche was really interesting with the addition of rum, an addition to ceviche I’ve never experienced.  The Ceviche de Coco was extremely fresh tasting and similar to the ceviche recipe I posted a few weeks ago.  And last but not least, the Black Ceviche.  As unappetizing squid ink sounds, I assure you it was delicious, especially when combined with the lime juice.  It honestly has a pretty mild flavor to it, especially when paired with calarmari, shrimp, scallops, and clams.

My overall rating of Fresca?  Delicious and worth your time if you’re looking for large portions of deliciously prepared gourmet latin food.  Fresca actually has three locations in the city, the location on Fillmore that I ate at, Noe Valley, and West Portal.

Categories: Latin, Restaurants | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Restaurant Review: Michael Alberini’s Restaurant and Wine Shop

While visiting my in-laws this weekend, my mother-in-law and I made our second trip ever to Michael Alberini’s in Boardman, Ohio.  The first time we went a few months ago, the food was amazing but of course I hadn’t started my blog yet.  Because of the awesome experience I had the first time there, I was really excited when my mother-in-law, Jocelyn, suggested we go there again for dinner.

It was a girls night out so we went big.  For an appetizer, we had the New Zealand Lollipops which the menu describes as “The  finest, most tender lamb chops char   grilled.  Served with homemade horseradish sauce.”  Holy cow, these things are amazing and we were glad our husbands weren’t with us because then we didn’t have to share with them.  These are some of the best lamb chops I’ve ever had and both times I’ve ordered them, they were cooked consistently to perfection.  The cool horseradish sauce is an awesome compliment and completes the flavor profile.  I highly suggest this appetizer should you ever find yourself at Michael Alberini’s.

Next was the salad.  I had the caesar salad which was incredible.  It was obvious that the dressing was fresh and the parmesan crisps doubled as cheese and croutons, something unexpected but surprisingly nice as they offered both textural and visual appeal.  Salad was served with hot rolls and butter- yummy, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Just wasted space in my stomach that could be reserved for the rest of the meal.

Now for the entrée.  Unfortunately, my entrée was a daily special so I can’t retrieve the description and I’m not sure that it can be ordered on a regular basis (so I’ll try not to gloat too much about how wonderful it was).  That being said, I chose the Surf and Turf special.  Wow.  Instead of your standard chunk of beef, I was served tender flank steak that had been marinated in some sort of Asian marinade.  The citrusy notes perfectly complimented the side of citrus risotto that was cooked to perfection.  I might have to try and recreate the citrus risotto at a later date because I think it could be the perfect starch side for some summer meals.  The “surf” part of the meal was one of the most incredible pieces of halibut I’ve ever had in a restaurant.  It was lightly seasoned and perfectly seared, locking in all the moisture.  The fish completely fell apart but in the best way possible; it was so tender and juicy!  The final component was a toasted garlic crostini that was seasoned with dried parsley and a surprising dusting of chili powder.  This was one of those meals that left me completely depressed when it was all gone.  Yes, it was that good.

And what type of wine do you drink with this type of meal, you may be asking?  Michael Alberini’s suggested Harmony Chardonnay that the restaurant described as having “tropical aromas and flavors with a vein of vanilla in the mid-palate from the oak aging, then light citrus to accent the finish – outstanding work with this varietal.”  And I honestly can’t add much to the description- they accurately described it.  Looking for an excellent, light Chardonnay for the summer?  This is it.

Bottom line: if you find yourself in the Youngstown, Ohio area, Michael Alberini’s Restaurant and Wine Shop is worth checking out!

Stay tuned for some more restaurant review coming up.  I’ll be in San Francisco for a week soon and fully intend on staking out some local joints!!

Categories: American, Restaurants, Wine | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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