Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Top 20 Restaurants Cont.

#14 G & M Restaurant and Lounge Baltimore, MD

When in Rome, eat crab cakes. If a city is known for something, find out who does it the best and get some. Visited a buddy a few months back in Washington, D.C. He did a quick search and found G&M. Go to their web site and you'll see they've been voted best in Baltimore for five straight years. I should have strictly focused on the crab cakes. Gave in to temptation and ordered a bowl of crab bisque. Mistake! Great soup, but just a tad bit on the heavy side. After contemplating temporary bulimia, I forged ahead and ordered the one crab cake plate with sides. Each cake is about eight ounces and comprised predominately of jumbo lump crab meat, with a few other simple ingredients. Couldn't even finish it. If you are near the area and a seafood lover, G&M is a must stop.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Taco Bell, We Thank You

Catch any of the latest Taco Bell ads? Over the past few weeks viewers have been treated to a series of perverts stalking poor Denise for an 89 cent taco "hookup". I'm a firm believer that no heated food should be sold for less than a dollar. Unfortunately, Taco Bell does not share my sentiments. I'm guessing the only thing these chaps will be hooked up with is a bad case of diarrhea. But does Taco Bell stop there with it's insane advertising campaign? Oh no! Next we get to follow Mr. Shrimp Blogger. Really? You can devote an entire blog analyzing a prawn? This globetrotter recently threw down his net when informed of the succulent shrimp offered at Tacko Bell (another annoying thing, it's Taco, not Tacko). I could have gone my entire life without hearing the words "succulent" and "Taco Bell" in the same sentence, and been very happy.

Top 20 Restaurants Cont.

#15 Bluestem Kansas City, MO

Certainly the classiest restaurant on my list. Ate there a few weeks ago on my Kansas City trip. Did my research on this place...found out the chef is one of the best in the Midwest. Specializing in Americana cuisine, Bluestem also offers top-notch service. The plating is absolutely beautiful and the taste is even better. Diners order in courses (recommend the three course meal) from a limited-item menu. When the food comes out you'll feel like an Iron Chef judge. My main course had a foam topping...sweet! Sara had the cauliflower puree as her appetizer and the filet mignon for a main course. My meal was highlighted by scallops. Believe me...each course has got a lot going on. One complaint...thought the desserts were just average. My carrot cake was a little dry, but did come with a side of celery sorbet. Yes, you read right...celery sorbet. Sounds gross? It was awesome. I thought the portions were adequate for such a place, and you'll definitely get full savoring each bite. With tip and wine, be prepared to drop about $200 on Bluestem. This special occasion restaurant is well worth it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Top 20 Restaurants Cont.

#16 Vietnam Restaurant Houston, TX

Sorry, I'm from Houston. A few of these are going to be from here.

It's almost a guarantee you'll drive right past this place the first time around and never know it. This once "hole in the wall", located in the Heights, recently bought out its next door neighbor...doubling its size. I liked it better when it was smaller, but who can blame them? Business is good when food is great. The menu is split down the middle with Chinese and Vietnamese entrees. I love Vietnamese food, but not here. Go with Chinese every time. Start out with a bowl of wonton soup. Best wonton in the city...guaranteed. But if you are allergic to shrimp, stay away! The signature dish on the menu is the Vietnam Beef. Very tasty and it comes with a lemon dipping sauce that is quite unique. Other recommended dishes include the Orange Chicken, vegetable lo mein, and sauteed green beans. Great place to go for vegetarians. It may sound crazy, but Vietnam even makes tofu taste good. This restaurant offers a real Houston experience (if there's such a thing). Has a very artsy/trendy feel to it, but surprisingly Vietnam Restaurant is one of the more kid friendly restaurants in Houston. Smart owners know kids prefer those giant candy rings over fortune cookies. And when you've won over the kids, the parents will be back.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe

One of my friends from dinner club suggested I post this as my first recipe entry. It's called Amy's Cilantro Cream Sauce and I found it awhile back on It's easy and can be put on just about anything (dip, sandwiches, over chicken). Whoever Amy is, we thank her. Drop me a message if you make it.

Top 20 Restaurants Cont.

#17 Giordano's Evanston, IL

Let's cut right to the chase here...Giordano's is all about Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Giordano's is good, although I really don't have another deep dish place to compare it to. Giordano's was recommended by family and it certainly lived up to expectations. I had never been a fan of deep dish, but Giordano's instantly changed my mind. Are there others that are just as good? Probably. But I haven't eaten at them, so they don't make my list. If you are in town for a short stay, Giordano's gets my vote for a true Chicago pizza experience. Be prepared to wait, not so much on the table, but the pizza. Deep dish takes about 45 minutes to bake. A piece, maybe two, will do you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Top 20 Restaurants Cont.

#18 Main Street Bistro and Bakery Grapevine, TX

Before going to this little eatery located just outside Dallas, make sure you've dropped about five pounds. You'll gain them back in one visit. Main Street is in the historic part of Grapevine, where you'll find many other fine eating establishments. This place gets my Best Breakfast Award. All the usual breakfast items are on the menu. My favorite are these little potatoes they serve with pretty much everything. Their crepes are also fabulous. As the name suggests, they also are a bakery...boy are they a bakery! Walking through the door you'll be blown away by their dessert counter. Haven't had a bad dessert yet, but highly recommend the Napolean. Their birthday cakes (which I've also ordered) are small and expensive, but beautiful and delicious. They are almost like a little piece of art. One disappointment...the coffee. For a place that specializes in the desserts, the coffee certainly doesn't live up to expectations. But I won't hold the sucky coffee against Main Street. I just order another Napolean to make up for it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Top 20 Restaurants Cont.

#19 Huggo's The Big Island, HI

Picture sitting outside with a slight breeze and 80 degree temps. In front of you is the Pacific Ocean with the cruise liners coming to port. To your right are waves crashing against lava rocks. That's what you get when you dine at Huggo's on The Big Island. Given the setting, this place could serve *hit sandwiches and it still might make my list. Fortunately, they do not serve *hit sandwiches. What they do serve is the freshest of the fresh seafood...highlighted by tuna tartar (called poke in Hawaii) that will make you want to canoe back to this restaurant located in the heart of Kona. Huggo's was featured on Rachel Ray's "$40 a Day" a few years back, but please don't hold that against this fine restaurant.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top 20 Restaurants in the Country

We'll get things going with a list. Who doesn't like lists? The following is my top 20 restaurants. I know there may be better out there, but these are the best of the best of the places I've been. We'll start at 20 and work our way down.

#20 Goode Company Seafood Houston, TX

Ahhh, the red-headed stepchild of the Goode Company family of restaurants. All you hear about in Houston is what they do with BBQ, but I feel the real action is in the water. How do I know? Back in my office working days I ate there every Friday for about two years. Got the seafood gumbo every time. Everything else on the menu (fresh fish, po boys, etc) is fabulous but the gumbo is where it's at. It has a thick base with tons of crab and shrimp. Perfect level of spiciness. One will render you virtually incapacitated for this rest of your work day. It's a lot different than a typical gumbo, and for good's the best!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And So It Begins

This will be all about food...nothing else. My life-long passion for food has led me to develop this blog. Content will range from giving my opinions on restaurants to posting recipes to highlighting the events of Dinner Club...and hopefully getting feedback on all of these things. The more interaction the better. I am always in search of the next great restaurant or recipe.