Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, Dec 21 ~ Spokane, WA

Today was a day of great food discovery!  Since I am in Spokane for a bit, thought I would write about my food experiences there.  First, I am shocked at the number of GREAT restaurants there.  I was expecting something along the lines of the "everything fried" variety, but not here.


Using my favorite iPhone app (Yelp!), I searched for something simple yet interesting for lunch.  Found this dandy and headed on down (and when I say down, it is quite a steep hill from my office to anywhere to eat).   Europa Pizzaria is a quaint restaurant serving both lunch and dinner. It has exposed brick walls, going for a Mediterranean feel.

I had the tomato potato soup and the turkey/onion/cranberry cream cheese panini.  Yum! There is also a full bar and dinner menu. I will definitely be back.


Dinner was at Wild Sage American Bistro, another restaurant located downtown Spokane.  This restaurant is cozy, again with exposed brick, high ceilings, and a small bar. Stellar reviews on Yelp!

Starter : had the Yukon taquitos > mashed Yukon potatoes, salted cabbage, chili lime sauce, avocado in a homemade tortilla shell.  Accompanied by Sriracha sauce.  May not sound appetizing, but they were very good.

Salad:  the waiter highly recommended this salad, so I went with it.  Very rarely have I been steered wrong by a waiter's recommendation. Crisp Bacon and Blue salad > bibb lettuce, lots and lots of bacon, vine ripened tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a wonderful home made blue cheese dressing.  I could eat this for breakfast, it is that good.

Main Course:  I went with the special of the evening, roasted pork, apples, onions over mashed potatoes.  The pork may have been the best I've ever tasted; perfectly cooked, a little pink in the middle (which is how it should be!), crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.

Wine:  Accompanying this fine meal was a bottle of something??   I don't recall the name, but is was a Washington state Cab....delicious.

If you are ever in the area, check out this little gem.  Since it is small, you may need to call ahead for reservations.  It did get packed on the Wednesday night I was there.

More to come from Spokane!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Augie's Front Burner Holiday Candlelight Tasting December 16, 2011

The holidays are now in full swing...we stress over finding the perfect present, when the best present of all is making memories with family and friends.  Spent the evening in downtown Springfield with Dora, Tim, Todd, and Tricia at Augie's.  We never have a bad meal at Augie's, and tonight was their special Holiday Candlelight tasting; three of us opted for this, while Todd and Tim ordered off the menu.

I would first like to thank Augie for the return of the fried cheese Napoleon (yay!).  It is a tower of friend cheese accompanied by greens drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  It has been off the menu, and when I saw that it had returned, I promptly ordered it, along with a bottle of Plungerhead Zinfandel.   An appetizer to the appetizers....

Course One:  Roasted Yellow Beets with Greens and Orange Honey Vinaigrette.  Who knew I liked beets?  These were delicious!  Sweet, and tasted like dirt in the spring (trust me, it was delicious). The vinaigrette was light and refreshing. Served with Dona Paula Malbec.

Course Two:  Beef Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallop over Asiago Polenta.  Delicious!  I do prefer my bacon to be pork, but this gave it an interesting taste.  The polenta was wonderful, with just a hint of Meyers lemon butter.  You can never go wrong with Asiago polenta.   Served with Benton Lane Pinot Noir.

Course Three:  Porcini Dusted Pork Tenderloin with Horseradish Mustard Jus, Yukon Gold Pave and Winter Vegetables.  The pork was tender and not overcooked.  The "potato pancake" was delicious.  The portion was very generous.  Served with Deerfield Merlot Cuvee.

Roasted Goose/Brandy Risin Sauce, Caramelized Cauliflower and Wild Rice.  This was Dora's choice.  Next time, I would probably get this.  I had a little bit of food envy.

Course Four:  Lavender Waffles with Fire Roasted Cinnamon Apples and Goat Cheese Ice Cream.  Yum....I loved this!  I believe there was also some maple syrup on there somewhere.  The goat cheese ice cream was surprisingly good, very tangy and not too sweet.  The "fan" is a dehydrated wedge of pineapple.  Accompanied by Pennywise Petite Sirah.

The service was good; our waitress was attentive without hovering.  I love Augie's; you can always count on a good meal there.

Slow down, take time to enjoy the holidays with the folks that you love.  The memories you make will outlast any present.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, Gallagher's Steakhouse

I know, I know....the blog is "Thursday Night Supper Club", and this is Friday; what can I say?  I am a creature of habit and had my stand - by at The Magic Kitchen last night, which I have already blogged about.  I'll blog about my lovely Friday night dinner instead.

Started at It's All About Wine with friends/family:  Dora, Tim, Todd, Tricia, and special guest Lisa Fulkerson.  Lisa is an old college buddy that knows way too much about both me and Dora, and vice versa.  She is in town to work at the State Fair, not as a carnie, but as a bonafide University of Illinois employee.  We shared a bottle of Yalumba, a Shiraz/Viognier blend from Australia.  Then headed to Gallager's Steak House.

Seated us right away.  Walking to our table, noticed that the bar area was PACKED with old folks; like the kind of old folks that have to buzz to get back in the institution if it is past 9pm.  Someone at the piano, with possibly karaoke (or not).  The singing was not great, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and it supplied us with endless conversation topics. 

Friday nights Gallagher's has a special:  10 oz prime rib, twice baked potato, and salad for $16.99.  I always get that.  The salad came with Brittany dressing, a sweet dressing that reminds me of what my Mom puts on her 7 layer salad.  And bacon.  It was a wonderful salad.  Bread was served along with the salad; a sweeter version of dinner rolls.  Yum.....

Main course:  Biggest 10 ounces I have seen.....and cooked perfectly.  Well marbled, drizzled in horseradish sauce. Delicious!  The twice baked potato, not as good as I have had here before.  The potato stuffing part tasted a little bit like instant potatoes, a little dry.  Dinner was accompanied by a J Lohr Cabernet.

Our waiter was Thad; he was prompt and professional.  May have to request him next time!  Actually, have never had bad service at Gallagher's.  Good food, great price....  and when you are done, you can belly up to the piano bar and sing (or dance) to your heart's content.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thursday, Aug 4, American Harvest

Another lovely Thursday evening spent with good friends.  Tonight was my friend Mark's birthday, so we were out to celebrate.  Mark and I are the "oldest friends" of our crew; we consider ourselves "ground zero" for our group.  Mark was one of the first people I met when I moved to Springfield; if we hadn't been friends, my sister probably wouldn't have met her husband, but I digress.  Let's talk food!

American Harvest was having their Local Flavors dinner, which was a pleasant surprise.  We did not have reservations, but a table (for 5!) was found pronto.  We were seated next to the Sweets -- another pleasant surprise. 

First course:  Heirloom tomato and grilled corn bread salad with warm bacon vinaigrette.  Delicious!  You had me at bacon.

Second Course:  Lamb chops with roasted vegetables.  Lamb was very good; I was at first hesitant since I don't ususally order lamb, but this cooked perfectly.  The vegetables were also very good.  Dora got the Sweet corn Risotto with mushrooms and goat cheese.  I did have some food envy with that; very rich and tasty!

Third Course:  Petite Peach Pistachio Tart with frozen greek yogurt  --- YUM!  The pastry was buttery, the tart itself was not too sweet, the frozen greek yogurt was all worked!

Everyone enjoyed their dinner; some tried the local brew and enjoyed every last drop of that.  Can't wait to come back and try something else.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28 Magic Kitchen

Getting back into the swing of this....I LOVE talking about food, as well as eating it of course.  I have been traveling for work for the past few years and don't get to my Springfield haunts as much as I would like.  This Thursday, went to the Magic Kitchen, which I believe has the best Thai food anywhere.  I do mean that.  I have tried Thai food at other restaurants, in other cities, and it is good, but it seems to always be missing something. 
I had great company:  Di and Ann joined me there.  I will start with the drinks:  I brought the Sofia Riesling.  It was slightly sweet, yet dry; the perfect accompanient to Thai.  Ann brought her standard Miller Lite.  I also brought a sampling of New Glarus Spotted Cow and Moon Man.  Spotted Cow is the perfect beer for folks who do not like a beer "aftertaste".  It is wonderful beer, but only sold in Wisconsin.  Road trip, anyone?
For appetizers: egg  rolls with peanut sauce, spring rolls, and chicken wings.  Now these aren't your normal chicken wings....these wings are made with the meat removed, chopped, vegetables added, spooned around the bone of the wing, skin reattached, then fried. Whew!  Served with an amazing dipping sauce, which Di ate with her spoon.  Concensus:  chicken pot pie on a stick.
Main course:  I had the bume noodle soup dry with red pork, mild plus heat.  This is my favorite dish here, hands down.  Great flavor!  The fried won tons and chopped peanuts send this over the top.  Ann got cashew chicken:  another great dish. Di got pad say whee (sorry, I am phonetically spelling this).  Looked delicious with the tiny noodles, broccoli,and cauliflower.
Another great evening at the Magic Kitchen....and what makes this kitchen magic?  The combination of food, friends, booze, and conversation. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, Sept 9

In Eau Claire for the long haul for a project that is now nearing completion. After only eating popcorn all day (plus 2 venti Starbucks), I was accompanied by constant dinner companions Beth and Paul to dinner, finally, at 8pm.  We opted for Red Robin.  Now, I usually do not like chain restaurants.  I like to support the  local independent restaurants whenever possible. However, last night, I would have eaten ANYWHERE.  Now, I have never been to a Red Robin, actually never even heard of it.  My usual stipulation for choosing restaurants is:  do they serve alcohol?  Well, yes, they do!  Yippee!  Let's go!  After arriving there, we rapidly entered our orders for drinks.  The service was good; but our waiter reminded me of a few co-workers.  He took the order, but others did all the work.  Hmmmmm.......
I opted for a plain cheese burger and fries.  When it arrived, there was nothing plain about it.  Cheddar, lettuce, onion, tomato, plus mayo (which I love on a hamburger). I added the requisite ketchup and mustard.  So big, I finished eating it with my fork.  Fries were only OK; certainly no McDonald's fries.  Reminded me of Fuddruckers. 

After dinner, headed to our regular watering hole, The Green Mill.  Instead of my ususal cap'n and diet, I opted for a Manhattan made with Jameson.  I also asked for 9 cherries.  I think I may have found my new drink :). 

Happy eating (and drinking) from  Eau Claire


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thursday Night Recession Dinner

I get a text...wanna go to Augies?  Of course I do...who doesn't? One of my favorite restaurants in Springfield!  So off I go with good friends Todd and Tricia.  Thursdays are Augie's "Recession Special" -- a 3 course dinner for $12.99.  I have been there before and checked out the selection for this Recession Special and was not overly impressed. However, this past Thursday, I could not pass it up.  I think it was the "horseradish" description that accompanied the Cast Iron Sirloin that caught my attention. Anyhoo....all of us ordered the same thing.  No food envy at this table.  First course -- greens with tomatoes and roasted onions with a balsalmic vinagrette (plus Augies addictive home made bread).  Very tasty and I suspect grown locally.  Main course -- Cast Iron Sirloin with potatoes and sauteed spinach.  Meat was cooked perfectly.  Aforementioned horseradish sauce was OK.  I'm not a big spinach fan, but the potatoes/spinach/horseradish combo was good.  Usually when I order meat/potatoes  at a restaurant I am overly full, but this seemed to be the right amount. On to the third course -- peach frappe with 3 oat meal cookies and fresh peaches (which tasted like that were either too ripe or had macerated in ginger liquer). Wine that accompanied the meal was a delicious Australian Shiraz....the name escapes me.  I did take notes over dinner, but alas have either lost them or thrown them away!  The night wrapped up with after dinner drinks at JP Kelly's.  A great bar with no pretentiousness about it (unlike many Springfield bars).  Would I have this meal again?  Absolutely!