CHABLIS FOOD + WINE RESTAURANT… “Returning With Friends For More Culinary Genius!”

Sometimes a great restaurant can’t help but get better and better. Case in point…Chablis Food + Wine in Tarzana, California. One of our favorite spots for a romantic intimate dining experience, each time we patronize this establishment, we’re consistently impressed with the overall ambiance, quality of cuisine, and seamless service. We brought along some friends this visit to enjoy a wine tasting at the bar before dinner and a delicious meal that miraculously rivaled the many others we’ve enjoyed in the area.

Chablis Update

We chose several selections from the varietal menu as we enjoyed the live intonations from the evening’s live performing artists near the lounge area across the eatery. The restaurant was awarded the 2013 OpenTable.com Diners’ Choice Award, and simply stepping foot into this haven of culinary excellence will prove just why so many adore what it has to offer.

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Baby Green & Candied Walnut Salad

The Baby Green & Candied Walnut Salad…the perfect amount of crunch from the nuts, sweetness from the fresh fruit, and savory notes of the house made raspberry vinaigrette, garden greens couldn’t be happier. And neither could we as we contently consumed these delectable salad compilations with ease. I respected the chilled red grapes and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, while the entire composition of crisp greens and fresh components created an impeccable starter salad.

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Filet Mignon

The Filet Mignon is a sight to behold. Prepared to our specifications, we enjoyed this sublime cut of prime beef medium, and indulged in the side of garlic mashed potatoes and grilled seasonal yellow squash and vibrant green stalks of asparagus. As if it couldn’t get any better, a savory shallot-burgundy demi-glacé and succulent lemon butter mixture created a finishing touch surrounding the entire dish in additional heavenly flavor.

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Pan Seared Sea Bass

The Pan Seared Sea Bass…the simple visual admiration of this dish almost forces one’s mouth to water. This “steak of all fish” as my husband and I fondly call this Patagonian Toothfish species, possesses amazing fulfillment qualities from start to finish. The white flaky flesh of the fish was enhanced with capers, tomatoes, and sweet basil, while roasted vegetables and an arancini croquette acted as flavorful sides.

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Braised Boneless Short Rib

Braised Boneless Short Rib at Chablis….wow.  There’s just not enough I can put into words to describe this phenomenon. The melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness this entree delivers lands on one’s taste buds with perfection. The rainbow chard, onions, and creamy mashed potatoes make for suitable culinary companions.

Each and every single time we indulge in what Chablis Food + Wine have to offer, we experience top quality in everything from the second we step foot through the front door to that final bite of dessert and last sip of wine after a sensational meal.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: A little bit of European ambiance mixed with a Tuscan feel on the airy patio, romantic main dining room, or inside the secluded private gathering area which plays host to many wine dinners, private dining events, and special occasions.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Flavorsome, fulfilling, and a mix of classic and artistic, you just can’t go wrong with a thing on the menu.
  • LOCATION: Chablis Food + Wine is located at 18588 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana, CA 91356.
  • HOURS: Now available for lunch (finally!) Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 AM until 2:30 PM, the bistro is still serving scrumptious flavors from fine wines to full meals.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: We’re consistently treated like family and catered to as if we are guests of honor when we stop by. We appreciate the graciousness and generosity the owners and staff of Chablis continue to provide us.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Exceptional quality of cuisine prepared with the artistry of a skilled culinary craftsman in the kitchen, the experience in total shows just how valuable the establishment is.
  • CORKAGE FEE: Still only $5 per 750mL bottle!
  • PARKING: Metered street parking is available near the entrance of the restaurant as well as a lot behind the restaurant.
  • PRICING: Our Baby Greens & Candied Walnuts Salads arrived promptly at their promised $7 each. The Filet Mignon was offered at an easy $23, while the Pan Seared Sea Bass came in at $24. The finale of the Braised Boneless Short Rib was served at $24 also, and our wines we brought to the restaurant were just $5 each for the establishment’s corkage fee.

*Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

 

 

 

J. ALEXANDER’S RESTAURANT…”Returning For More American Greatness!”

When we said we would be returning to J. Alexander’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a relaxed and intimate dinner, we meant it. (See our lunch review at: http://savorhour.com/?p=12650). Our return to this Nashville-headquartered upscale contemporary American cuisine eatery proved well worth our taking the time to revisit for an evening together testing what this popular establishment so proudly dishes out to it’s patrons.

J8The first J. Alexander’s opened in 1991. Ever since, the company has been increasingly proud of what it offers it’s patrons in terms of fine upscale offerings, a large selection of fine wines and full bar, and focus centered around it’s open kitchen concept, its popularity has grown throughout the years.

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Smoked Salmon Dip & A Favorite Pinot Noir

The Smoked Salmon Dip starter at J. Alexander’s will leave you with thoughts of complacency and a satisfied overall impression.  Visually pleasing and equally as intriguing when tasted, the citrus-cured flaky salmon is hardwood grilled and smoked in-house to perfection creating a chunky hearty spread mixed with flavorful red onion and herbs with large pieces of fresh salmon served with a thinly-sliced toasted baguette. Pair this with a favorite bottle of wine like the Meiomi Pinot Noir we began our meal with, and that’s the perfect mixture for an amazing start to a fine dining experience at J. Alexander’s.

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Grilled Scottish Salmon

The Grilled Scottish Salmon that I elected to enjoy this particular night could not have been more perfect. The restaurant’s culinary team started with a beautiful filet of fresh cold water Scottish salmon, which was then hardwood-grilled, seasoned with a special mixture of savory flavors, and served with J. Alexander’s signature colorful and eye-catching rice pilaf.  Expertly cooked, ensuring only the highest caliber of flavor from such an incredible compilation of flavors, this entrée choice was exquisitely composed from beginning to end.

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14-Ounce Steak Maui

A succulent and generous 14-ounces of prime beef is marinated in a concoction of savory flavors of soy sauce, ginger, pineapple, garlic, and brown sugar compile the creation of the restaurant’s Steak Maui that will make your mouth water even before you take that first bite. Seared outside and so succulent and tender on the inside, this steak presentation will wow you from the first inhalation of savory essence and consumption of incredible taste and tender texture to your final mouthful of beefy goodness. The accompaniment of mashed potatoes as a side compliments this dish like nothing else, proving this dish to be not just your ordinary “meat and potatoes” meal.

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J. Alexander’s Warm Carrot Cake

Yes, yes, yes.  We know.  It’s carrot cake. And we are aware that our SavorHour followers know that our favorite all-time carrot cake version is made by Truluck’s Seafood Restaurant. BUT…J. Alexander’s Warm Carrot Cake has proven its superiority in sinful gratification excellence by arriving at a close second to our favorite carrot cake served at the popular seafood restaurant chain. Made fresh daily in-house with a buttermilk “syrup” that keeps an amazing moisture and flavor in the cake, this single-layer decadence filled with shredded carrots, walnuts, pineapple, raisins and a rich cream cheese icing is served warm, and  just cannot get any better than that. One portion is large enough for two (or three) to share with having more than a few bites and serves as a gratifying cure to that sweet tooth that beckons for something more.

An intimate dining environment, a sensational array of flavorful selections to chose from, and the superior quality of service and  intimate ambiance will prove to you that J. Alexander’s is the place to be when you’re craving something sensational and unforgettable.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The open concept set-up, upscale ambiance throughout, and sensational classy, yet relaxed feel.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Consistent favorites, and flavorsome creative nightly specials offer a savory variety of choices to select from. A full bar invites with a wide array of adult beverages as well as an expansive fine wine list.
  • LOCATION: J. Alexander’s restaurant is located at 6457 Bluebonnet Road, in Baton Rouge, LA 70809.
  • HOURS: Serving Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM, the eatery also provides incredible meals Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:00 AM through 10:00 PM as well.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Top drawer service is paired with professionalism and generous kindness, friendly conversation, and poised performance.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Great value for the reasonable pricing and succulent selections.
  • CORKAGE FEE: No corkage fee! Feel free to bring in your favorite vintages from your cellar to enjoy with lunch or over a romantic dinner experience.
  • PARKING: Ample parking is available free of charge surrounding the restaurant.
  • PRICING: The Smoked Salmon Dip arrived at $14.00, while the bottle of Meiomi Pinot Noir we brought with us to enjoy with dinner had no corkage fee charged to it. My Grilled Scottish Salmon fit the bill appropriately at $24.00, and my husband’s 14-Ounce Steak Maui arrived at an agreeable $29.00. The “second-only-to-Truluck’s” Warm Carrot Cake dessert was a fair and well-worth-it $7.00.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

BONEFISH GRILL… “Bang Bang Shrimp & Raspberry Martinis!”

In January of 2000, a restaurant chain began that enlightened the masses with its fresh creative seafood preparations, hand-shaken signature potent cocktail list, and overall welcoming and alluring ambiance. Bonefish Grill has since become a favorite of many, and is proving that luxurious decor and culinary creativity is possible in an upscale, yet casual and inviting environment. Having enjoyed numerous flavorsome and consistent memorable dining adventures at multiple BoneFish Grill locations spanning Florida’s west coast, the historic locale of Georgia’s romantic Savannah, and the golf haven of prestigious Hilton Head Island, we found ourselves venturing to the Bonefish Grill in North Charleston on our most recent sojourn through the south where the cuisine was just as savory and mouthwatering as we remembered first taking that initial bite of divine creation at a Bonefish Grill.

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If you’re ready for a chilled flavor sensation, here are two we recommend when addressing the adult beverage category before dinner. One of our favorites is Bonefish Grill’s Raspberry Martini. That first sip is always as delicious as the first taste we remember some twelve years ago when we first stepped foot in a Bonefish Grill lounge. Elegant and nicely appointed in rich woods and metal sculptures, the bar area is a seductive area of involvement offering a span of refreshing and creative cocktails to suit whatever mood you may happen to be indulging in at any given moment. Made with Reyka small-batch vodka, freshly hand-muddled red raspberries, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, this martini will stay high on your mental checklist of best-loved alcoholic concoctions. Another new addition to the always intriguing list of flavors of liquid temptations at the restaurant is the Winter White Cosmo. Though not on the menu during the non-winter months of the year, just let your bartender or server know you’d like one (or three!), and they’ll be happy to accommodate your craving for this mix of Stoli Cranberry, Cointreau, fresh tangy lime juice, and white cranberry juice garnished with what else…fresh cranberries!

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Fresh Raspberry Martinis & Winter White Cosmos

Bonefish Grill continues to seduce its patrons ready for a mouthwatering culinary experience with starting out by serving house baked fresh focaccia bread accompanied by a vessel of pesto and extra virgin olive oil for dipping each tender bite of this sinful bread into. One taste of this fresh-from-the-oven bread will have you craving more and more, and the pesto and olive oil mixture for dipping is sensationally refreshing.

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Fresh Baked Focaccia Bread & Pesto Olive Oil

Craving a tasty appetizer that will bring some zing into your pre-dinner tasting to go along with those tantalizing cocktails? Then there are only three words to solve that search for all-out flavor satisfaction: Bang Bang Shrimp! A favorite of the crowds of fans who fill Bonefish Grill eateries in droves, the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer is a definite favorite vote among consumers. And for our SavorHour staff as well! These crispy fried shrimp are tossed in a creamy, rich and spicy sauce atop a bed of shredded lettuce garnished lightly with parsley and other herbs. A delightful and mouthwatering beginning to any Bonefish Grill meal that just might have you ordering more before you place your dinner order.

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Bang Bang Shrimp

We foraged through salads of vibrant hues and tasteful components with the Beet & Goat Cheese Salads. A fresh chilled spring mix was accompanied by pickled sweetened beets, zesty onions, sweet crunchy candied pecans, and was seamlessly tied together with a house made vinaigrette. A welcomed salad selection that we will enjoy again soon, these were savory, healthy, and bursting with layer upon layer of flavor and satisfying texture joined by the simple creaminess of the goat cheese.

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Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

My husband ordered the Rhea’s Swordfish special. In the mood for succulent residents of the sea, we both thought this presentation of wood-grilled swordfish topped with spinach, lump crab meat, and a lime-tomato garlic sauce was a true winner. An addition of a side of pumpkin ravioli made for a combined taste of sweet and savory, which was a gratifying venture.

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Rhea’s Swordfish With Pumpkin Ravioli

Rounding out our evening, I chose the restaurant’s Pecan Crusted Parmesan Rainbow Trout. A sizable and perfectly-prepared trout filet coated with crushed pecans and Parmesan cheese, then lightly crisped and topped with artichoke hearts, fresh aromatic basil, and an out-of-this-world lemon butter sauce that delivered this menu selection to heights only tasting for yourself could explain properly. Joined by sides of spaghetti squash and potatoes au gratin, there wasn’t another thing I could think of at that moment to make this dish any more sublime.

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Pecan Crusted Parmesan Rainbow Trout

Upscale, yet casual and relaxed, Bonefish Grill maintains a consistent reputation for delicious fare focused around fresh seafood and other items that will prove just how terrific their company really is. Hand shaken refreshing beverages, cuisine that is unparalleled to most other chain restaurants across the country, and an ambiance that is both comforting and pleasing to involve oneself in, this seafood restaurant rarity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which makes the staff at SavorHour very happy indeed!

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: An upscale ambiance complete with dim lighting and intimate seating welcomes patrons in to a full bar as well as an intricately-designed dining room. Some Bonefish Grills offer a patio outdoors as well, while the overall feel of each of these seafood establishments offers compelling visual effects from the copper and wrought iron décor, colorful pops of color throughout, and soothing inviting environment that will capture you the moment you arrive.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh seafood presentations, a variety of sides and other items on an expansive and tempting menu, and refreshing and flavorsome cocktails prepared in front of you at a full bar ready to take you to a place of relaxation.
  • LOCATION: This particular Bonefish Grill was located at 5041 International Boulevard in North Charleston, SC 29418.
  • HOURS: Enjoy what this Bonefish Grill has to offer Monday through Thursday from 4:00 PM until 10:30 PM, Fridays from 4:00 PM until 11:30 PM, Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 11:30 PM, and Sundays from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Kind, efficient, and gracious service was experienced on our last visit to this North Charleston Bonefish Grill location.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Acceptable, reasonable, and well worth returning.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • PARKING: Spacious parking availability exists free of charge right outside of the eatery for your convenience.
  • PRICING: Our Raspberry Martinis and Winter White Cosmos were offered at a simple $7.90 each, while the spicy Bang Bang Shrimp were enjoyed at $7.90. Our Beet & Goat Cheese Salads were added to our entrees for a minimal charge, while my husband’s Rhea’s Swordfish with a side of Pumpkin Ravioli came in at an acceptable $23.50. My Pecan Crusted Parmesan Rainbow Trout arrived at a mouthwatering $21.40.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

SHEM CREEK BAR & GRILL… “Waterfront Dining With Impeccable Flavor!”

Amidst the marsh-laden tidal creeks of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina is postured a long-standing dining establishment that has been in existence since the early 80s.  Shem Creek Bar & Grill has become a significant part of the waterway which meanders through the centermost artery of such a charming part of the country. While other dining locales rest along Shem Creek’s historic ebbs and flows, it’s namesake bar and grill honors true Lowcountry cuisine with the added incentive of an extraordinary view of the creek and the sightseeing one might happen to witness while patronizing this southern eatery.

Shem Creek Bar & Grill

Minutes from the historic district of the town known for it’s rich past, the town of Mount Pleasant has become a sought-after boater’s haven along the glistening waters of Shem Creek. Providing a substantial playground for those who enjoy most any leisure activity on the water, Shem Creek also provides the perfect picturesque backdrop for it’s namesake seafood house and oyster bar. There, patrons are afforded the luxury of enjoying the laid-back serenity of taking in the views of Shem Creek and its priceless experience not to be overlooked.

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Indoors, nautically eclectic décor enhances the seafood eatery’s casual, yet inclusive ambiance. Red leather booths near the full service bar constructed into the shape of a boat is an intriguing display as diners enter the establishment. The aquatic world of fish aquariums entertain visitors at intimate booth seating, and no matter where one focuses their gaze, proof of nautical items convey a feel that only a truly authentic seafood restaurant can transmit.

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The “Catch” BLT Sandwich

The “Catch” BLT Sandwich is a satisfying selection that my husband and I have enjoyed on multiple occasions when visiting the Lowcountry of South Carolina. A choice of either grilled salmon or a sizable mahi filet is topped with crisp savory bacon, crunchy chilled lettuces, and hand-sliced tomato on a soft Kaiser roll adorned with sesame seeds. An accompanying choice of scrumptious sides is provided as well. On different occasions, we’ve selected sides of fresh cole slaw and southern home cooked collard greens. We haven’t quite made it to choosing the salmon in lieu of the mahi filet because we’re obsessed with the mild flaky texture and simple, yet delicious flavor of the mahi presentation. I like the hot straight-from-the-pan temperature of the fish, while the softness of the bread and chill of the veggies and crunchy bacon offer multiple sensations of flavor, texture contrast, and savoriness

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Special Salad

This heavenly-tasting creation filled with vibrant colors, crunchy components, and creamy blue cheese crumbles really scored high on our favorite salads category. Crafted with most of my favorite flavors…the sweet, yet slightly tart sensation of dried cranberries, thinly sliced crunchy almonds, mixed greens, crumbled blue cheese, fresh tomato and cucumber slices, and a house-whisked sensational balsamic dressing that complements the salad just perfectly.

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Homemade Meatloaf “Shemwich”

With several varieties of “Shemwiches” to chose from on the menu, I found myself indulging in the incredible Homemade Meatloaf Sandwich version. Handcrafted and expertly prepared homemade meatloaf on a toasted hoagie roll with lettuce, tomato, and onion as well as a choice of one side. If you’re in for a meatloaf sandwich that tastes like it was stolen from your own family’s secret recipe collection, it’s time to try this offering out during a relaxed slow-paced lunch break. We ordered the fried okra side and as you can see, the sandwich and the side were ample portions. The crisp crunch of the fried okra matches seamlessly with this lumch entree choice. Add a little ranch dressing on the side to dip each fried morsel of okra into, and you’re sure to relish in the experience as much as we did.

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Shem Salad

Here’s a festive and healthy, yet filling selection on the lighter side…the Shem Salad. Vivid hues of reds and greens and oranges ever so appealing to the eye are complemented by the coordinating flavors of combined crisp lettuce varieties, bite-sized grape tomatoes, crunchy slices of cucumber, cheddar and jack cheeses, sliced almonds and chopped egg. Delightful on the palate and good for you at the same time, this creation is enjoyable to dive right into at any time of the day.

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The Village Beef “Shemwich”

Another Shemwich I succmmed to devouring happily is the Village Beef Shemwich.  Thin slices of prime rib are piled high with a heaping portion of Swiss cheese and horseradish sauce. These contents are then pressed onto French bread and served with a vessel of hot at jus perfect for dipping every single succulent bite into. Lean beef, melty cheese, and the addition of the creamy horseradish sauce make this heavenly conglomeration one not to pass up at Shem Creek Bar & Grill. If you’re a calorie or carb counter and allowing yourself a temptation now and again, this would be a definite recommendation for a “splurge” meal!

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When seeking a location with remarkable waterfront visual complacency, Shem Creek Bar & Grill offers the perfect scenic South Carolina setting. An excellent place to take in a memorable sunset along the scenic banks of Shem Creek, arrive in your own watercraft just in time for seasonal activities on the elongated wooden dock stretching out over the marshy gateway to the soothing fluidity of the creek waters, or just sit and watch the boats go by, kayakers and paddle boarders glide past, or an occasional sighting of dolphins at play. Whatever your fancy, you will find it based amongst the water’s edge at Shem Creek Bar & Grill.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: A casual decorum ushers first-time patrons inside, while welcoming back locals and regulars alike. The relaxed friendly vibe draws you in, while the eclectic seafood house-esque items enhance the ambiance and remind you that you’re in the charming environment of the south.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Unforgettable homemade flavor and quality reside in every item we have ordered at Shem Creek Bar & Grill. From salads to fresh fish sandwiches to sinful meatloaf and prime rib atop soft sandwich breads, there’s a nice variety of items from which to enjoy a meal here.
  • LOCATION: Shem Creek Bar & Grill is located along the water at 508 Mill Street in Mount Pleasant, SC 29464.
  • HOURS: The establishment is open for business Monday through Thursday from 11:30 AM (kitchen stops service at 10:00 PM), on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 AM (kitchen stops serving at 10:30 PM), and Sunday for brunch from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, as well as Sunday dinner from 4:00 PM (with the kitchen closing at 10:00 PM). Don’t miss Happy Hour pricing on select drinks and food all day Thursdays at either of the two bars. The convenience of being open for business seven days a week allows for daily enjoyment of great Lowcountry cuisine, photo worthy views, and a full oyster bar to the back of the restaurant with expansive views of the waterfront.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Customer service is right on par. After our third visit to the eatery while in town, several of the staff remembered our faces and knew us by name. It was a nice feeling. And their continues graciousness impressed us to no end.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Terrific pricing for the homemade quality and sensational flavor of everything we tried. Shem Creek Bar & Grill has become one of our top locations to unwind and relax when traveling through the Mount Pleasant, SC area.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • PARKING: A spacious parking lot is free of charge for patrons right at the main entry to the restaurant.
  • PRICING: The Catch BLT arrived at a simple $9.99, while the Special Salad that I absolutely fell head over heels for was fairly priced at $10.99 with the addition of grilled chicken I added to the order. The Homemade Meatloaf “Shemwich” was offered at $8.99, and the Shem Salad was an ample portion at just $6.99. Another “Shemwich” we thoroughly enjoyed was the Village Beef “Shemwich” that was a savory experience at a fair $8.99.

* Menus and prices subject to change without notice.

SPAHR’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT… “Unsuspecting Location Offering Amazing Catfish & Stunning Views!”

Numerous folks have consistently followed a trend when searching for amazing catfish between the stretch of highway that connects New Orleans to other outlying southern locales such as Grande Isle and the college town of Thibodaux, Louisiana. What seems to elude most is the unsuspecting welcoming bayou-side seafood restaurant along Highway 90, which has become a comforting casual stop along the way for fresh Cajun fare, original recipe Bloody Mary’s, and a waterfront view that is unexpected, yet graciously welcomed.

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Having been destroyed in a fire in 2002, the original Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant was eventually rebuilt in 2006 into the current establishment along the tranquil waters of Bayou Des Allemands, Louisiana.  So after trying out some of the most succulent fresh fried catfish you can get your appetite around, take a stroll outside behind the restaurant and enjoy the view. Just watch out for that alligator on the loose! Des Allemands is nicknamed the “Catfish Capitol of the Universe”, and rightfully so. It’s position right on Bayou Des Allemands makes for the perfect location for some of the freshest seafood for miles, while the town also prides itself on being the home of the yearly Louisiana Catfish Festival every second weekend in June each year.

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Refreshing Cocktails

Step up to the traditional bar area, or situate yourself at one of several tables window-side for a view of the tranquil waters of Bayou Des Allemands while you lunch on some of the most incredible catfish in the area. We started our seafood exploration with a few adult beverages such as chilled and hand-shaken Absolut Cosmopolitans, Captain Morgan cocktails, and Spahr’s Original Recipe $5 Bloody Mary’s.

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Fried Catfish Po-Boy Sandwich

We started by splitting one of the restaurant’s sizeable Fried Catfish Po-Boys. Tender traditional French bread made the perfect surround for expertly fried sizable catfish fillets lovingly stacked inside this sandwich with homemade tartar sauce, fresh slices of tomato, and crisp chilled lettuce completed the sandwich while potato salad and fries were added and a bottle of the restaurant’s hot sauce stood close by in the event we decided to kick things up a couple of levels.

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“The Original” Catfish Chips

Don’t be fooled by imitations at other seafood eateries proclaiming they serve catfish chips on the menu, because only Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant holds the title to “The Original” Catfish Chips. Started when the locale was a modest service station with a small kitchen and lounge in the early 60s, Bill and Thelma Spahr would serve fresh caught small catfish, which they lovingly called “Catfish Chips” due to their petite size. Customers awaiting their vehicles to finish being serviced would be served these savory morsels of tender fried fish cleaning their plates down to the very last crumb…and so started the demand for Bill and Thelma’s “Catfish Chips”. Today, nearly 45 years later, those same small catfish have remained just as popular in the former service station locale turned full service restaurant. Served with sweet potato fries and the family’s homemade potato salad you can bet you won’t be disappointed with what you get.

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Crawfish Stew & Fried Catfish Filets

A third entree we tried before departing was the Crawfish Stew. This dish also came with a side of fried catfish filets and that delicious creamy homemade potato salad that we just couldn’t get enough of. A thick slice of buttered French bread was lightly toasted until crisp, and the hearty chunks of tender potato, large crawfish tails, and a dark flavorsome roux combined together for a superb filling and savory experience.

Remember that stunning water view behind the restaurant I mentioned? How amazing are these views before, during, or after a meal at Sphar’s Seafood Restaurant?

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An unexpected oasis along this side-of-the-road location serving up homemade original seafood cajun specialties and comfort foods to keep you smiling makes Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant in the south Louisiana town of Des Allemands the place to be for amazing catfish, original recipes that you won’t soon forget, and picturesque waterfront views that are definitely photo worthy.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Spacious casual comfort welcomes patrons in from miles of highway driving, where a chilled beverage and friendly conversational servers smiles take the edge off from a day’s drive.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Some of the best fried catfish around outside of the Crescent City. Definitely worth stopping in at this unassuming roadside eatery for a taste of their incredible cuisine.
  • LOCATION: This original Spahr’s location can be found at 100 Cypress Drive in Des Allemands, LA 70030.
  • HOURS: Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM, then again on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: A cordial, efficient, and friendly staff accepts the responsibility of catering to their customers with seamless effort. Byron provided outstanding service and pleasant conversation at the bar, while Jenny took great care of us when we moved from the lounge area to a table beside an expansive water view through huge pane-glass picture windows.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Quality Cajun and Southern favorites for reasonable prices keeps this place packed morning, noon, and night.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • PARKING: Ample parking spaces surround the restaurant at no charge.
  • PRICING: My Cosmopolitans came in at an unbelievable $6.50 each, while our Spahr’s Signature Bloody Mary’s arrived at $5 per order (with a signature Spahr’s souvenir cup), and my husband’s Rum and Coke beverages were priced at $5.50. The Fried Catfish Po-Boy was acceptably listed on the menu at $9.99, and the Plate of Catfish Chips came in at $12.99 plus an additional $1 charge to change out the traditional fries for sweet potato fries instead. We had to stick it out a bit longer to try the Crawfish Stew, which was fairly ticketed at an easy $12.99.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

MASTRO’S STEAKHOUSE… “Mastering Traditional American Steakhouse Cuisine!”

The moment we arrived at Mastro’s Steakhouse in the upscale Pinnacle Peak area of Scottsdale, Arizona was the moment we realized we were in for an amazing experience. Noted for their upscale sophisticated ambiance, succulent prime steaks and seafood preparations, distinct fine wine selection, and unbeatable live entertainment within an elegant and comforting setting, Mastro’s Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona excels without hesitation.

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The brilliantly-hued custom made hand blown glass chandelier sculptures overhead at Mastro’s are breathtaking. Adding a unique flair to the eatery’s already unparalleled environment, these artistic creations effortlessly hover overhead drawing repeated attention to their color, sizeable proportion, and evident glamour they expel. Aside from spacious well-appointed dining tables, a dining and entertainment area exists in the restaurant’s own M Bar complete with energetic live music, an expansive full bar, and views through glass-walled dining rooms.

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Fresh Baked Breads, Signature Martinis & Savory Wines

Let’s begin with a few items we enjoyed before ordering from Mastro’s Steakhouse’s succulent menu of varied items for the evening. Starting with the sensational Pomegranate Martinis, crafted with Ketel One Citroen Vodka, Monin Pomegranate, Triple Sec, and Sweet & Sour, don’t let the price tag fool you. You’re basically getting two chilled hand-shaken cocktails for one solid price. After being shaken table-side for your entertainment, the cocktail shaker is then left with you on the table for you to enjoy at your leisure. I was sure I would find myself ordering a second, but as it turned out, one was all I required at that interval in our meal that night to start our meal off right. The fresh-baked bread variety served with chilled sweet cream butter assisted with our intake of the tasty libations, while throughout the evening, we also enjoyed a glass of golden-hued buttery Fess Parker Chardonnay as well as a couple of pours of the deep gem-stained Ferrari Carano Napa Valley Merlot with its nose of berries, cinnamon and cherries.

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Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters on the half shell enter an entirely new existence at Mastro’s Steakhouse. Large fresh oysters are prepared with a mouthwatering mixture of fresh chopped parsley, crispy bacon, diced fennel bulb, shallots, garlic, a delectably sinful butter compilation, and savory herbs. Finally topped with tender spinach and a creamy mixture of Fontina, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses, these sizeable star appetizers offer bursts of multiple flavors and a presentation to rival most others. We ordered a half-dozen, then realized another would be imperative after taking our first bite.

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Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio reigns supreme at this culinary location. We were impressed with the striking presentation of the thinly sliced raw prime beef tenderloin topped with shaved Parmesan, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and shaved Parmesan-Reggiono cheese. Dijon mustard and zesty horseradish are then joined by oven-toasted baguette slices and vibrantly colored greens. A homemade vinaigrette dressing is a culinary finisher for this stunning, and tantalizing appetizer perfect before any occasion at Mastro’s Steakhouse.

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Chilean Sea Bass

Chilean Sea Bass at its finest. The tender, juicy, white flesh of this sea derivative seemingly melts in one’s mouth as it is easily devoured once presented to the table in all its glory. A simple, yet sizeable presentation of a thick-cut filet seared to perfection is proudly served immediately from the oven delivered on a hot dish topped with light herbs and basted with a succulent clarified butter glaze.

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12-Ounce Filet

As succulent as you can imagine a steak can be prepared, that’s what you will experience at Mastro’s Steakhouse. A meticulous searing beneath a 1500-degree broiler in the kitchen locks in flavors and juices, then the beef is smothered in clarified butter and the process is completed as ordered. As explained by our well-informed server, the restaurant wet-ages their prime cuts of beef for a minimum of 28 days, then once prepared, they are served on sizzling 400-degree plates straight from a 1500-degree oven served with clarified butter and a light sprinkling of herbs. We appreciated the simplistic preparations of the fish and steak offerings we enjoyed. Sometimes, an entrée doesn’t have to be joined by an over-piling of filling sides to be just what you’re seeking. Many times, a simplistic preparation speaks volumes over complexity in terms of culinary involvement.

Mastro's6Chocolate Sin Cake

There’s a reason the word ‘SIN” comes packaged in the name of this chocolaty dessert…because it truly is a purely sinful indulgence. From the complex layer after layer of chocolate corruption to the divinely creamy icing that surrounds the layers of sweetness that make for the perfect tempting finale to any meal, the Chocolate Sin Cake comes in a winning contender in the tempting arena of sweet decadent desserts on SavorHour’s list of favorites.

A truly unforgettable dining experience featuring sensational local entertainment within the spacious and lively M Bar, intimate and unrivaled service under a romantic dimly-lit glow within extravagantly decorated dining rooms, and an overall satisfying ambiance will leave most anyone speechless. From the time we walked through the restaurant’s front door illuminated by tiny white lights in the darkened environment of a stunning night sky to the time of our leaving to return to our home away from home in this city of unforgettable memories, it was proven to us without a doubt that we would be returning again soon to indulge in what Mastro’s Steakhouse offers its patrons.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Hand blown glass chandeliers leave a lasting impression almost as amazing as the cuisine itself. Lively toe-tapping entertainment professes thousands of reasons to visit M Bar, and the entire establishment offers an intimate ambiance difficult to compete with.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Expertly-prepared cuisine and chilled potent hand-shaken cocktails make for a seamless evening, while every bite from start to finish is consistent and flawlessly executed.
  • LOCATION: We enjoyed visiting this particular Mastro’s Steakhouse, located at 8852 East Pinnacle Road in Scottsdale, AZ 85255.
  • HOURS: Mastro’s Steakhouse served dinner only from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Sundays through Thursdays, while on Fridays and Saturdays the establishment stays open later from 5:00 PM until 11:00 PM. The spacious lounge opens at 4:00 PM daily until closing. On Sundays, enjoy brunch at Mastro’s Steakhouse from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Unparalelled service, impeccable attention to detail, and a serving “staff” that attends to most any desire one could ask for ensures only perfection throughout the meal.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Priced according to the quality of the items we ordered, we feel Mastro’s Steakhouse in Scottsdale affords reasonable value on the menu for the impeccable freshness of the items provided.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • PARKING: Valet service is available for your convenience as well as a spacious lot with complimentary parking spaces.
  • PRICING: Our Pomegranate Martinis proved intoxicating and ample at $18 each, while a glass of buttery Fess Parker Chardonnay came in at $14. The two glasses of Ferrari Carano Napa Valley Merlot arrived at $15 per glass. The Oysters Rockefeller starter we ordered was fairly priced at $18, while the stunning presentation of Beef Carpaccio was unveiled to us at a simple $22. The Chilean Sea Bass priced itself evenly at $47, and the 12-ounce Filet amply fit the bill at an acceptable $34.95. The Chocolate Sin cake finale came in at a simple $9, and was well worth every sinful morsel!

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

BLOSSOM CAFE… “Blooming With Brilliance!”

Another pleasing dining establishment on popular 300-year-old East Bay Street in Charleston, South Carolina is the modernly-appointed Blossom. Sister restaurant to Magnolias (see our article on Magnolias here: http://savorhour.com/?p=6766), and Cypress just steps away, this eatery features an intimate and lushly-appointed romantic patio in addition to its eye-catching interior spaciousness. Our last visit to this relaxed fascinating house of culinary surprises proved to us once again the many reasons we enjoy dining here so much when traveling through the Lowcountry.Search results for blossom

Offering such succulent fare as fresh seafood creations, wood oven pizzas, fresh-from-the-garden salads and a variety of small plate fare along with savory sweet culminations and over 150 wines to chose from at the full-service bar, Blossom’s Executive Chef, Adam Close, shows off his well-skilled inventiveness and aptitude behind an airy open modernly-appointed preview kitchen featuring a center-of-attention mosaic-tiled wood burning oven. Copper sconces complete the striking pizza oven, while flagstone walls and skylights overhead bring the outdoors in past heavy wooden beams that create a matrix of angles above the main dining area.

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Serving up some pretty incredible and memorable American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair, Blossom’s reputation as a fine dining locale with casual flair and elegance continues to, well…..blossom. My husband and I enjoyed a late lunch and were not disappointed with a thing. The service was excellently poised and professional, the atmosphere was ensconced in an inviting and comfortable modern-casual decor, and the food and beverages we chose to partake in were bursting with flavor and visual appeal.

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Granita Arancia Martinis & House Baked Bread

There’s something my husband and I relish in…long sophisticated lunches. There’s just something about arriving at a favorite restaurant, or a never-before visited one, and enjoying the seamless service and unique ambiance of an eatery once the bustling lunch crowds have long since disappeared. On this visit to Blossom, we initiated our afternoon nourishment with a couple of the restaurant’s chilled and colorful Granita Arancia martinis. Svedka Vanilla vodka was shaken with vanilla simple syrup, a house made blood orange granita, and Champagne then served in tall martini glasses. I loved the added iciness of this beverage from the granita, while the flavors of blood orange and vanilla joined forces to form the perfect cocktail. The eatery’s signature artisan bread is lovingly baked, then brushed with rich olive oil, rosemary and sea salt, then joined by a ramekin of house made honey butter.

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Wood Oven Pizzas

A single glance across the restaurant toward the preview kitchen, and you’ll understand why Blossom’s wood oven pizzas continue to delight those who continually order them. Alongside options of the Tomato & Mozzarella and Four-Cheese Mushroom options, I selected the Lamb Sausage Pizza, which proved to be just as savory as it was described on the menu. Rich sections of flavor-packed lamb sausage were accompanied by zesty sun dried tomatoes and traditional oregano, then completed with creamy indulgent goat’s cheese atop a sensational thin and crisp crust. The tempting offering is crafted and baked right in the restaurant’s tile-encased wood-burning pizza oven visible from the main dining room.

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Pecan Crusted Flounder

When flavors of mild flaky flounder encased within a pecan crusted exterior are elevated to new heights with the sweet essence of apple butter, then you’re really in for something special. This creatively composed lunch entrée didn’t last long once we took our first taste of this savory presentation. Sides of a tender local potato hash and bright green stalks of steamed asparagus add color and additional beauty to the overall presentation of this item. We dare you to try to have leftovers remaining from this preparation…we bet you there won’t be a single morsel existing on your plate!

Consistency is key at Blossom Café, as well as an expertly-managed routine of superior customer service, a well-trained staff prepared to cater to most any request, and indulgent, tantalizing flavors that will spin your taste buds out of control.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Stunning color is displayed across the spacious main dining room with an in-pouring of natural light. While outdoor seating is available during suitable times of the year, the indoors offers a conversation-piece-worthy modernly-appointed wood burning pizza oven, which sits proudly as the kitchen’s main centerpiece for all to enjoy. A private dining room exists toward the entrance of the establishment for intimate gatherings and social affairs.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Exquisite fresh ingredients heighten signature cocktail compilations, while cuisine-wise, Chef Adam continues to seek new heights impressing his patrons with each plate of deliciousness that he sends out of his kitchen.
  • LOCATION: Blossom is located at 171 East Bay Street in Charleston, SC 29401.
  • HOURS: The restaurant serves its mouthwatering culinary creations Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM, while dinner is available those days from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Fridays and Saturdays, enjoy relaxed and sophisticated dining inside or on the patio from 11:00 AM until 3:30 PM, and dinner from 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM. On Sundays, return for more savory delight from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM for lunch, and for dinner from 4:00 PM through 10:00 PM. Don’t forget Happy Hour specials at the bar and on the sidewalk café Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM!
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Exceptional attention to detail, kind service, and efficiency worth noting.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Reasonable, affordable, and respectful.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $25 per 750mL bottle
  • PARKING: Metered street parking is convenient, however local city parking lots are nearby as well as a private lot beside the restaurant available after 5:00 PM on weekdays.
  • PRICING: We sipped a couple of Granita Aracia martinis at $9 each, while we nibbled on the house made bread with honey butter spread. I indulged in the sinfully cheese-laden Lamb Sausage Pizza for an easy $12, while my husband chose the Pecan Crusted Flounder for an acceptable $16.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

IL TIRAMISU RISTORANTE… “Finding Consistant Value In A Familiar Locale!”

Another look at a familiar lunch spot we relish in when we sojourn over the hill is Il Tiramisu Ristorante. Probably sounding familiar to you SavorHour readers out there, that’s because it is. Our first review of this long-time favorite of ours when visiting friends in the San Fernando Valley is this fine restaurant offering unmistakable preparations of finely-crafted Italian dishes, an inviting ambiance for escaping the business of the city, and a family-run eatery that has stood the test of time over the years and doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

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Having appreciated a multitude of meals at this Sherman Oaks location on the corner of Woodman Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, we realized that just one review was hardly enough to cover the plethora of incredible offerings this eatery has to present to its patrons.

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Walk into Il Tiramisu Ristorante and you walk into a world of Italian ambiance, a feeling of family, and bursts of vibrant colors throughout the restaurant which are reflective of the impressive freshly prepared cuisine that will leave you yearning for more.

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Pinot Noir & Zuppe del Giorno

Aside from the warm flat bread that is generously offered before placing your order, we sipped our Pinot Noir and succumbed to the refreshing description of the daily homemade soup for the evening. The Gazpacho Soup was chilled, refreshing, and made in-house using a family recipe that we would have loved to obtain! A considerable beginning to a comforting meal at this establishment, and definitely one to enjoy again on a return visit.

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FIletto di Salmone con Avocado e Salsa al Miele

When attempting to satisfy a craving for a beautiful filet of fresh salmon, cure those Omega 3 oil yearnings by ordering the FiIleto di Salmone con Avocado e Salsa al Miele, which is a succulent baked salmon filet enhanced with a honey and citrus emulsion, then topped with colorful micro greens. Add a side of penne pasta with house made marinara sauce and grilled avocado topped with oven crusted Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, and you not only have yourself an aromatic and visually delightful presentation, but a meal that is light on guilt and heavy with delicious flavor, tenderness, and satisfying texture.

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Pollo Milanese

A traditional method of hand-breading then lightly frying tender chicken breasts comprises the Pollo Milanese offering. This well-embraced Italian chicken recipe arrived garnished with a lemon wedge, and was accompanied with sides of Penne Marinara and grilled avocado with the restaurant’s signature Parmesan cheese-and-bread-crumb topping. A definite filling dish, this offering will satisfy anyone’s appetite searching for crispy tender chicken lovingly breaded and fried sure to enrich a pleasurable dining experience at this establishment.

Another memorable visit to one of our favorite Sherman Oaks eateries topped off by consistent customer service, overly kind treatment by the staff, and always a warm welcome back when we walk through the doors of this charming corner Italian restaurant.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The warm tones throughout the dining spaces and lounge are not without brilliant bursts of vibrant colors that remind patrons of the intrigue Italian restaurants bring forth. Comforting and spacious dining rooms, a cozy intimate bar and lounge, and even a few tables outside along the sidewalk for that evening out of doors with the one you love over a fine bottle of wine offer casual sophistication and impressive allure.
  • FOOD / DRINK: The cuisine possesses a noticeable homemade essence with its fresh ingredients, flavorful house made sauces, and the loving effort that went into each dish that is prepared. FIne wines are available by the bottle, as well as a varied selection of libations from the restaurant bar.
  • LOCATION: The restaurant is located at 13705 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, CA 91432.
  • HOURS: Hours of operation for the eatery consist of lunch on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and dinner on Tuesdays through Sundays from 5:00 PM until 10:00 PM. Additionally, the restaurant seats until 10:30 PM on Friday and Saturday evenings.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The always friendly demeanor the staff and family that owns and runs the restaurant have always been extremely kind to us. We now feel more like a part of the family than just patrons visiting their eatery when we stop in for an elegant meal.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The integrity of fine Italian cuisine shines through with every dish offered here. Reasonable pricing along with an overwhelmingly kind staff and owners add to the warm and colorful dining ambiance.
  • CORKAGE FEE: An easy $5 corkage charge is applied to each 750mL bottle brought into the restaurant.
  • PARKING: There is metered street parking available on both streets that the restaurant is cornered on, while the establishment offers valet parking behind the eatery for a minimal charge.
  • PRICING: The Gazpacho Soup arrived at $8 per serving, while the corkage charge for the bottle of wine we arrived with was a simple $5. I decided on the Filetto di Salmone con Avocado e Salsa al Miele for a worthy $19, while my husband went with the Pollo Milanese for a reasonable $18.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

THE FRENCH LOAF… “Conversation-Piece Ambiance & Unforgettable Po-Boys!”

Since the early 90s, I’ve been indulging in the simple pleasure of sinking my teeth into The French Loaf’s Po-Boy sandwiches on my occasional sojourns through the southern state where crawfish and comfort foods are staples in any Louisiana native’s diet. The establishment has since doubled in size, now providing ample dining space with eclectic and conversation-worthy items of interest and intrigue.

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Signature French bread is baked fresh daily, and the proof of that is in each flavorful bite taken from each beautifully prepared sandwich. Tender texture with a slight crisp…has to be some of the best French bread outside of New Orleans. Consistency and quality are two items that stand out regarding this eatery. A modest-looking stand-alone casual appearance attracts folks from all walks of life from the family next door seeking a great sandwich at a wallet-friendly price point to the town’ supper crust to the nearby high school student longing for a satisfying after school snack before heading home.

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There’s not much fanciness to this at-times-overlooked unassuming roadside location as locals zoom past its out-of-the-way location, so don’t arrive expecting white tablecloths and a sommelier at your side. The resturant sits along a busy artery of the city and you just may hear vehicles whizzing past as you dine at this popular take-out-and-pick-up venue for those on the go. The interior décor is definitely eclectic, with lacquer-coated tables concealing an impressive 45 record collection as well as terrific conversation-piece bottle cap displays. One thing you can expect, however, is unforgettable, incredibly fresh Po-Boys prepared by folks who really know what they’re doing and care what is served to their customers. That consistency of quality, fresh ingredients, and the way they treat their customers as though they are a part of the family are all reasons why The French Loaf is still thriving after more than 30 years.

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Fried Oyster & Fried Shrimp Po-Boys

We addressed the Fried Oyster and Fried Shrimp Po-Boy sandwiches on our most recent stop at The French Loaf. Atop sensational freshly-baked French bread encasements, each sandwich was dressed with the appropriate shredded Iceberg lettuce, fresh sliced tomatoes, and a light spread of mayonnaise. A supply of tartar sauce and Thousand Island dressing were added on the side for additional sinful flavoring enhancements at our request. Add a couple of ice cold sodas and a pile of napkins and you’ll be in shape for a savory, crunchy, freshly compiled Po-Boy that you will find yourself telling your circle of friends about repeatedly.

Reasonable prices, delicious freshly prepared meals, a casual yet eclectic and unique interior ambiance, and just a place you can relax and indulge in the savory experience of sensational traditional Louisiana flavors…that’s what you’ll discover at The French Loaf.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The eclectic nature of the interior décor at The French Loaf offers a unique and noteworthy reason to stop in. Lacquered tables covering Mardi Gras doubloons, an extensive bottle cap collection, as well as a multitude of colorfully labeled 45s add to the life of the environment.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Some of the most sensational Po-Boy sandwiches we’ve tasted outside of the New Orleans. Freshly-baked French bread prepared daily creates an explanation as to why the sandwich bread at The French Loaf is so darn incredible. Pile on your favorite selection of toppings and prepare your taste buds for a thrilling and satisfying ride they won’t soon forget. Po-Boys, tasteful sides, fresh salads, muffulettas, gumbo, appetizers, sodas, domestic beer, and other items will cure your hunger for Southern cooking not to be beat.
  • LOCATION: The French Loaf is located at 6949 West Park Avenue in Houma, LA 70364.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The staff has always been friendly and family-oriented. We were made to feel as though we were part of the family with the staff’s kind-hearted thanks for stopping by and their sincere and generous treatment.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The value for the pricing of items at The French Loaf is fair and true to what is served in our opinion
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • CONTACT INFO: Phone: (985) 851-6000
  • PARKING: Ample parking area surrounds the restaurant, while a convenient drive-thru window allows for speedy pick-up of take-out orders.
  • PRICING: The Fried Oyster Po-Boy and the Fried Oyster Po-Boys were both priced at $9.95 each.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

RIVE GAUCHE CAFE… “Ventura Boulevard’s Answer To French Al Fresco Dining!”

Amidst the hustle and bustle of nonstop Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California sits a long standing establishment known for it’s enduring reputation for fine French cuisine, reputable service, and quaint ambiance. At Rive Gauche Cafe, patrons will experience a unique culinary escape from the busy lifestyle that is L.A., an intimate country-esque environment, and authentic French dishes to rival most flavors experienced in the heart of the Eiffel Tower’s homeland.

Rive Gauche Enamored with both the quaint garden patio complete with abundant greenery and the resonation of flowing water from a nearby fountain as well as the indoor main dining room with its hearty wooden beams overhead and an inpouring of sunlight from numerous windows and skylights, this eatery draws a sophisticated gathering of locals as well as the newcomer from miles away. Whether stopping in for a cocktail beside the fireplace in the Rive Gauche lounge across the patio, a cozy al fresco dining experience at a bistro table for two beside a bricked and hedge-laden patio, or more formal quarters indoors where sophistication and relaxation go hand in hand, few will find equivalent ambiance, quality in service, or memorable preparation of French cuisine.

Rive Gauche1Over the years, we have become accustomed to calling Rive Gauche Cafe one of our favorite go-to lunch solutions in Sherman Oaks. From fresh and creatively-prepared salads, traditional French classics, and innovative spins on sweet temptations to sparkling flavorful libations, there is something to please most anyone who craves fine French cuisine at this location.

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Caesar Salads & Hand Shaken Libations

What better way to start a long lunch date at Rive Gauche Cafe than Caesar Salads and hand shaken cocktails from the bar! Created with dressing and croutons made in-house, the addition of freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese, vibrantly-hued Romaine lettuce leaves, crunchy endive stalks, and chilled succulent anchovies joined together to create the perfect start to our most recent break at this eatery.

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Turkey Cobb Salad

Try a dose of hand-chopped breast of turkey atop Rive Gauche Cafe’s festive Cobb Salad and you will do no wrong. Both a healthy and light, yet filling lunchtime entrée choice, the colorful display of high protein from the lean turkey and chopped egg come together with creamy clue cheese crumbles, freshly chopped tomatoes, and a house made vinaigrette to perfect the quintessential lunchtime entrée salad worthy of acclamation.

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Ravioli du Jour

The Ravioli du Jour I delighted in was a hand fashioned ravioli stuffed with three cheeses, then smothered in a creamy signature Alfredo sauce. (Calling all you SavorHour cheese lovers out there!) A tender leek presented a magnificent display of colors amongst the shades of various whites and creams on the palate of this dish, while pops of diced red bell pepper gave an extra burst of contrasting color as a garnish.

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Roast Whitefish

The Roast Whitefish option is not only tasty, but an excellent lunchtime addition to any culinary involvement at Rive Gauche Café. Typically served with a caper, artichoke hearts and lemon butter sauce atop this expertly-prepared gift from the sea, my husband elected to have the sauce served on the side. This dish is also served up with sides of the eatery’s signature heirloom carrots, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

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Sand Dabs Veronique

Creamy lemon-butter sauce…what could be more tempting? Try a generous portion of it over the tender, flaky flesh of succulent Sand Dabs. Both a heavenly mild texture and flavor, this entrée surpasses the superlative category as flavors of Provencal herbs, lemon butter, and sides of fresh steamed veggies align together to form an excellent collection of tastes sure to please the palate.

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Dark Chocolate Parisienne

Top off any meal at Rive Gauche Café with the restaurant’s signature French dessert…the Dark Chocolate Parisienne. A sinfully delicious, but not overly sugary dark chocolate shell conceals a dome of chocolate ice cream with a hidden raspberry sorbet concealed within. A fluffy cloud of freshly-whipped cream and sprig of mint polish this presentation off nicely. Chocolate and strawberries have nothing on chocolate and raspberries!

Make any meal an escape from the hectic hustle and bustle of LA’s daily grind at Rive Gauche Café. Having been stopping in for over 12 years, we can recommend the comforting and casual old world style establishment and romantic soothing garden courtyard for a pleasant harbor from the day to day stresses of life, where we have found ourselves at certain intervals thinking we were lunching amidst a French chateau in the heart of LA!

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Rive Gauche Cafe offers an unparalleled intimate outdoor garden setting complete with fountains and greenery suited for most anyone’s desire for a lingering sophisticated al fresco meal. Indoors, a more “old-world” ambiance welcomes guests with its hearty wood beams overhead and elegant, yet casual seating and service. Across the garden patio exists the lounge, where a fireplace keeps patrons warm in the cooler evenings and a full bar offers a refuge from the day’s anxieties.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Authentic French cuisine that never ceases to amaze us with its quality, freshness, and eye-catching vibrant presentation. Beverages are offered and served in large drinking vessels, while unique sweet somethings are delivered sure to please the palate and put a smile of contentment on your face.
  • LOCATION: Rive Gauche Cafe is located at 14106 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
  • HOURS: Rive Gauche Café is open for service seven days a week from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM. Fridays and Saturdays, the establishment extends its closing hours to Midnight, while a 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Brunch is available on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Caring and gracious servers delight in assisting with menu selections and beverage options, while they sufficiently add to the overall environment of the eatery.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Well worth the prices that the restaurant commands for the savory and beautifully-crafted dishes available.
  • CORKAGE FEE: A $10 corkage charge exists for each 750mL bottle of wine, and a $15 charge for every 760mL bottle of Champagne. However, what you bring into the restaurant from your own cellar cannot be a label served on the eatery’s menu. (*Please call ahead to ensure your bottle is not served at the restaurant before you go).
  • CONTACT INFO: Phone: (818) 990-3573 (The restaurant’s website is currently in the stages of being updated).
  • PARKING: While metered street parking is accessible, we recommend taking advantage of the valet service provided, which keeps your vehicle in a private lot right beside the establishment off the business of bustling Ventura Boulevard for a simple $3 per vehicle.
  • PRICING: A large Pellegrino came to $6.50, while a round of martinis from the bar arrived at $7.50 each. Our Caesar Salads were priced at $8.50, and my Turkey Cobb Salad came to $12. The Ravioli du Jour was fairly priced at $18, while my husband’s Roast Whitefish totalled an earnest $16. The Sand Dabs Veronique came in at $15, and lunch was topped off with an $8 Dark Chocolate Parisienne dessert.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

FISH RESTAURANT… “King Street’s Master French Chef Brings Alluring Sustainable Features To The Lowcountry!”

 Under the sea where serenity calls to those who bask in its peacefulness and quiet nature, there is also a certain curiosity that is provoked within us by what lies beneath such an expanse of aquatic allure. We were recently provided a glimpse of that strolling along King Street in history-rich downtown Charleston, SC, when we came across Fish Restaurant where simple touches of aquatic highlights elevated us above the crest of yearning for the latest adult libation and highly spoken-about farm-to-table ingredient. Known for its locally-sourced elements, succulent French-Asian fusion dishes, and being diligently overseen by the state’s only Master French Chef, Fish Restaurant excels where its competitors merely attempt to live up to its creative blend of savory flavor, unique presentation, and intriguing cuisine.

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An undersea ambiance immediately grabs your attention as you peruse the intimate spaces from the lounge to the main dining areas inside. Azure fragments of suspended glass seemingly and efficiently portray the feel of being beneath ocean waves…somewhat maybe what a fish would experience beneath the water. In the lounge, a cast net-like chandelier covering makes one wonder what the day’s fresh catch is before viewing the menu. Hints of deep royal blues dot tops of tables via dark cerulean candle holders strategically scattered throughout the restaurant and along an elongated wooden bar drawing a reminder of the sea close wherever you happen to be seated. Throughout the main dining area, gauzy drapery that lines the ceiling overhead conjures up images of fluffy sea foam lining the coast while the shore washes fond memories in and out of our lives as the tides ebb and flow.

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Signature Cocktails & Champagne

The Fish bar offers some pretty intoxicating libation selections as well. We enjoyed the antioxidant Spa Treatment made with EG Rosemary & Lavender Vodka, Creme de Violette, Elderflower Syrup, lavender water, squeezes of lemon and lime, fresh cucumber and soda with a grapefruit peel garnish. The Orient Express contained Absolut Orient Apple, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Yuzu Marmalade Mint, lemon, and Blenheim’s Ginger Ale. Both drinks created with intriguing ingredients sure to top your evening off quite nicely. Additionally, we relished in a bottle of the Shramsberg Mirabelle Rose’ Champagne from the northern Californian coast.

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Dim Sum

For an all-out flavor-filled experience with a variety of personally selected tastes, choose from 12 innovative and richly-hued dim sum creations from the Fish menu. At just $12 for four, we enjoyed selections such as the Frog Leg Spring Roll with a ginger chili glaze, the Flounder Quenelle with Emmental cheese (the original Swiss cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk) and tomato ginger sauce, the Goat Cheese Panini with Bell’s local honey, and the Tempura Fried Escargot with a ginger aioli. Talk about a diverse range of savory morsels! Each dim sum was craftily showcased upon an individual serving dish section possessing vivid chromatism and structural composition. We devoured each one, carefully savoring the compilations of fresh ingredients and textures of exteriors and fillings until they were no longer existing upon their plate leaving satisfied smiles upon our faces and glances at one another of contentment and happiness.

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Duck Cassoulet

I have experienced a number of variations of Duck Cassoulet. I even prepared it for a private gathering of associates of my husband at one of our homes a few years ago. (Fortunately, that palatable involvement went off without a snag and the entire dining room of attendees thanked me profusely for my culinarian efforts.) Chef Nico’s interpretation of this traditional French preparation far exceeded any expectations I might have had when I chose it from the menu as my entrée. Roasted Long Island duck was respectfully sliced and placed along one side of its serving vessel drizzled in a savory and succulent jus, while an accompanying ample side dish of cannellini beans, root vegetables, duck confit, lamb sausage, mushrooms, apple and cabbage was expertly baked then topped with a layer of crunchy breadcrumbs. A simply stunning preparation with marvelous notes of rich duck essence, earthy mushrooms, and all things flavorful.

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72 Hour Short Ribs

If you’re a fan of short ribs like my husband is, then Chef Nico’s version of this hearty and filling dish will take care of that hankering for something incredibly hearty and tastefully divine. Prepared sous vide (French for a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times to ensure an interior full of flavor and natural juices) for 72 hours, this substantial portion of succulent Texas beef nearly melted in our mouths at first bite. A puddle of succulent Bordelaise sauce enhanced this already mouthwatering preparation joined by roasted brussel sprouts and sunchokes. To add to the indulgent factor, Chef Nico added a vermicelli Mac & Cheese Cake as a side item that was equally enjoyable to look upon as it was to ingest. Fish Restaurant Dessert

Apple Tart Dessert

We edged further into the evening’s palatable temptations when we ordered the visually appealing and sensational tasting Apple Tart. Constructed with sweet slices of organic apples, and a perfectly-proportioned addition of Pernod ice cream, striking garnishes of warm caramel sauce and the satisfying crunch of candied nuts completed what turned out to be a succulent sweet reward worth diving into.

Fish Restaurant offers an intriguing array of seasonal, locally-obtained ingredients exploding with flavor and exquisite presentation at the hands of Master French Chef Nico Romo that will leave you spellbound with contentment and delight. A sure winner by Savor Hour’s standards, and sheer proof why it is known as one of Charleston’s top-tier eateries.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: An upscale, yet relaxing and welcoming exterior invites patrons into a warm, dimly-lit, intimate setting. A perfectly-arranged lounge area introduces itself first, then guests are ushered by a hostess to an awaiting table in the main dining area equally as romantically enhanced as the lounge.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Sustainable ingredients only add to the immense flavor-packed surprises that Chef Nico has waiting for you. Start with a cocktail at the bar, then carry those on at your table with refreshing and creative libations crafted specifically to wow your taste buds.
  • LOCATION: Fish Restaurant is located at 442 King Street in Charleston, SC 29403.
  • HOURS: The establishment is available for dinner Monday through Sundays from 5:30 PM until 10:00 PM, while the lounge serves Monday through Sunday from 4:30 PM until. Don’t forget Happy Hour at the bar with 1/2 off bottles under $90 on Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s certainly a deal you can’t exclude yourself from! Don’t forget the Daily Happy Hour (4:30 PM to 7:00 PM) specials at the Fish Bar such as $6 Cheese Plates Mondays & Wednesays, $6 Moules & Frites on Tuesdays, on Thursdays try indulging in $6 Dim Sum. Fridays and Saturdays feature $6 Dumplings, while on Sundays, $6 Noodle Bowls are the highlight during Happy Hour.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: When visiting the lounge Wednesday through Saturday, ask for Alex and you’re sure to have the preferential, kind, and efficient treatment you desire and deserve.
  • PRICE / VALUE: We felt the prices are meant to please based on the level of service, quality of cuisine, and memorable ambiance that was carried throughout the eatery.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $20 per 750mL bottle.
  • PARKING: Metered parking is available along King Street, as well as parking areas placed throughout the city nearby for minimal charges.
  • PRICING: Our dinner experience began with Chef Nico’s Dim Sum selections at an acceptable $12 for four including the Frog Leg Spring Roll, the Flounder Quenelle, the Goat Cheese Panini, and the Tempura Fried Escargo. That was followed by the Duck Cassoulet for a modest $24, and the 72 Hour Short Ribs for a reasonable $29. We also enjoyed a bottle of the Schrmsberg Mirabelle Rose’ Champagne for $66, a Spa treatment libation for $9, and a couple of Orient Express cocktails for $8 each.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

BAMBOO CUISINE… “Modest Location With Exceptional Flavors!”

 Sitting modestly along Ventura Boulevard in the heart of Sherman Oaks, California you will find Bamboo Cuisine. We have found this tastefully-appointed Chinese restaurant to provide exceptionally fresh fare and a delightfully relaxed ambiance to boot. From the moment you arrive and enter into the front door, sounds of water resonate from a corner of the room instantly setting you at ease from the bustling town of L.A. But you’re away from all of what was left outside as soon as you entered, and only tranquility, expertly-prepared cuisine, and a friendly and efficient staff exist now to help make your meal that much more memorable.

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Having received the Award of Distinction as well as being named “The Best Chinese Restaurant In the Valley” by Zagat, the establishment takes pride in their acclamations. But what really makes the owners happy is seeing the pouring in of patrons from morning until night. A popular lunch spot for locals who are in the know, and a restful and relaxing dinner spot for regulars and visitors in the city, Bamboo Cuisine provides everything made-to-order to suit the cravings of most any appetite ready to be satisfied with some pretty amazing Chinese cuisine.

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Bamboo Cuisine offers a popular lunch selection that will appeal not only to those yearning for great Chinese cuisine, but also inventive and colorful preparations. Along with such a divine selection of menu items available, Bamboo Cuisine also offers libations from a full bar, banquet facilities, a catering service as well as nearby delivery from the restaurant.

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Hot Tea, Wonton Soup & Ginger Salad

If you’re in the vicinity and ready for an extremely flavorsome meal during lunchtime, stop into Bamboo Cuisine for a dining experience that’s not too heavy on the pocketbook. For under $20, my husband and I enjoyed items from the Lunch Specials menu, which came with hot tea, salad with ginger dressing, and Wonton or Egg Drop soup. The hot tea was refillable at no additional charge, while the salad and soup were filling and a wonderful prequel to our upcoming entrée choices.

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Shrimp & Cashews, Beef & Broccoli & Chicken Fried Rice

On this particular visit, I chose one of my favorites…Shrimp & Cashews, while my husband decided on the Beef & Broccoli presentation. Both dishes were served in colorfully-designed serving plates and included large shrimp, cashews and tender pieces of beef with freshly steamed and stir fried broccoli. A side of chicken fried rice accompanied these selections magnificently.

Delicious, and such a deal for lunch in the nonstop L.A area, Bamboo Cuisine in the heart of Sherman Oaks is the place for that perfect lunch when you’re looking for delicious cuisine in a relaxed and tranquil setting.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: A calm sets in upon entering the front doors of Bamboo Cuisine. The babbling of a fountain  nearby, the statues of Buddah, the vibrant hues of reds and golds throughout the eatery, and the museum-like glass encasements of Chinese figurines between the walls of the dining rooms all aid in the whole ambiance of relaxation while you enjoy your meal in serenity.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh tasting culinary presentations are offered stemming from the major areas of China. Prepared to your specifications, the kitchen at Bamboo Cuisine is happy to adjust meals to any dietary requirements, so don’t be shy to ask.
  • LOCATION: Bamboo Cuisine is located at 14010 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
  • HOURS: Hours of service include Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 AM until 10:30 PM, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 AM through 11:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Kind servers and an efficient focused kitchen staff are responsible for hot meals making it to the table in record time.
  • PRICE / VALUE: An exceptional value for what you receive, especially during the Lunch Special time. Quality ingredients go into every dish on the menu, and you can taste the excellence of the skilled chefs behind the scenes.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $20 per 750 mL bottle of wine.
  • PARKING: Valet parking and metered street parking are available for your convenience.
  • PRICING: My Shrimp & Cashews entrée selection came in at an amazing $8.75, while my husband ordered the Beef & Broccoli dish at $7.25. Our meals came with refillable hot tea, chicken fried rice, and salads with a pleasing ginger dressing.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

COMMANDER’S PALACE RESTAURANT… “The Garden District’s Queen of Cuisine!”

 Traditions are often carried from one generation to the next by means of story telling or other methods. Sometimes exceptional dining venues fall into that category when we travel repeatedly back to some of our favorite locations across the globe. One of our favorite culinary activities when in the Crescent City is dining at Commander’s Palace. Over the years, this has become our tradition of sorts when in the Garden District of New Orleans. Our most recent visit was no surprise to our taste buds, as we have been to this establishment more times than we can remember, each trip mystically trumping the last experience. Dubbed as the “most famous restaurant in New Orleans”, and having received a Four-Diamond rating from AAA as well as many other accolations, Commander’s Palace is far ahead of the culinary crowd, keeping quality, consistency, and customer service as three of their highest standards.

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Since 1880, the Brennan family has held great pride for this restaurant. Chef Paul Prudhomme sat at the Executive Chef level here. Even Emeril Lagasse, who took over that role from Chef Paul in the early 80s served his reign in the very kitchen that exists today. Currently, Chef Tory McPhail creates what he calls “haute Creole” cuisine for those eager to experience the southern quality of food turned magical. Seemlessly almost, orders are taken then formulated behind the kitchen doors into pure blissful flavors and exquisite presentations for all to enjoy. Having been named the “#16 Best Chef In America”, you can bet that Chef Tory knows his way around the kitchen.

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After Hurricane Katrina, the restaurant underwent extensive renovation, but still kept the sophisticated charm and allure it had before. When guests enter the main dining room, they now visualize sky blue walls with white detailing and colorful perched feathered friends hovering above dining tables seemingly keeping an eye on patrons dishes. Artfully crafted wooden “shaking” crystal-bead-draped chandelier bulbs give off the appearance of flickering lighting overhead, and upgraded seating in earth tones and warm hues bring everything in the room together effortlessly.

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25-Cent Lunchtime Martinis

Speaking of traditions, lunch at Commander’s Palace has been a long-standing tradition of ours for a very long time. Specifically, the 25¢ martinis offered during this time of the day. In the past, there was no limit to these full-bodied colorful concoctions with the order of an entrée. (I think I’ve thrown in the towel at five to my recollection!) These days, there is a limit of just three per person with lunch, but they are still the same flavorful liquor-laden libations they always were. Served in large martini glasses by well-dressed servers, a choice of the Classic Martini, the Commander’s Martini, the Cosmopolitan, and the Ray’s Melon Martini are available flavor options. And don’t forget to taste the signature Garlic French Bread that is served upon your arrival. Tender, crunchy on the edges, and slathered with garlic and butter, this version will leave you never indulging in it anywhere else! Don’t forget the extensive wine list if you’re not in the mood for martinis. Commander’s Palace was recently awarded the Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2013!

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Commander’s Turtle Soup & Commander’s Palace Award-Winning Gumbo

Commander’s Palace is known worldwide for it’s meticulously prepared southern cuisine. A favorite on that roster of Creole goodness is their popular Commander’s Turtle Soup. We have a bowl of it on every visit, and will continue doing so in the future. The immense flavors burst forth from the three-day process it takes to make this toothsome starter, and it is finished tableside with aged Spanish sherry. The Creole Gumbo is no exception when it comes to aromatic temptation with its rich-tasting stock, regional ingredients, and touch of Louisiana hot sauce that just enhances the variety of flavors encompassed in this traditional southern favorite.

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Honey Lacquered Quail

If you were preparing a memorable quail dish, how would you plan it? How about stuffing a tender quail with apple smoked bacon, Creole cream cheese, and jalapeno corn bread! That’s what Chef Tory had us mesmerized by when it arrived as my selected entrée. It was placed atop a bed of wilted cabbage then covered in a blanket of blueberry Bocage honey.

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Griddle Seared Gulf Fish

The Griddle Seared Gulf Fish entrée was a Louisiana Drum that possessed a heart heathy variety to a succulent Louisiana dish. Crab boiled mirlitons neighbored chopped celery, earthy-flavored mushrooms, vibrant hued carrots, crunchy yellow corn kernels, and the perfect addition of fresh garlic. New potatoes and bruleed lemon halves were also added, while a delightfully savory and sweet brown butter vinaigrette finished the entire dish off on an exceptional note.

INSIDER’S TIP: Make a reservation to dine at the Chef’s Table in the Commander’s Palace kitchen where all the excitement happens behind the scenes!

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Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé

There are three things that we always have to order when dining at Commander’s Palace: 1) Turtle Soup, 2) 25¢ Martinis, and 3) the Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé. Lovingly named “The Queen of Creole Desserts”, this sugary vessel of deliciousness arrived perfectly risen from a hot oven. Then with a spoon, our server freed the steaminess from inside the soufflé and poured a warm whiskey cream sauce (we call it “frisky” sauce!) into the opening. An ideal confection for two (or three) to share, and the perfect way to complete any meal at Commander’s Palace as we have on numerous occasions.

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Sorbet du Jour

We also relished in the cool refreshing compilation of the Sorbet du Jour in addition to the Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé. Beautifully presented in an edible candied dish, this handcrafted chilling passion fruit flavored treat highlighted with local flavors left us both satisfied and visually pleased with such an offering.

Commander’s Palace is a tribute to everything wonderful about southern Louisiana. Both with its culinary excellence and consistency in service, cuisine, and ambiance, it will continue to pave the way for others to merely follow.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: This 5-Star dining institution has been charming its guests for decades. Southern hospitality is at its highest here, and the only thing you will be expected to do is to place your order. The rest is taken care of by a professional staff, an intriguing beautiful dining environment, and the sensational aromas wafting from the kitchen into the dining room until they transform into stunning culinary presentations before you. The Victorian style of the restaurant will charm you to no end, while a series of dining rooms add intrigue and conversation-piece delight to your meal.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Exceptional quality of cuisine from locally-sourced ingredients truly shine in the flavor department. Herbs are grown fresh and harvested from a rooftop garden. Refreshing libations offer something unique with your meal, and presentations are served with meticulous effort.
  • LOCATION: 1408 Washington Avenue in New Orleans, LA 70130 just a short walk to the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.
  • HOURS: Lunch is available Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM until 2:00 PM. Dinner is served Monday through Sunday from 6:30 PM until 10:00 PM. An available Live Jazz Brunch is available on Saturdays from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, and also on Sundays from 10:30 AM until 1:30 PM. The restaurant is closed on Christmas Day and Mardi Gras Day.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The attentive service is hard to match at Commander’s Palace. Well-trained and informed servers don crisp uniforms and make their way in and out of the kitchen almost effortlessly. Even making eye contact with your server from across the room will signal him to appear to provide what it is you desire.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Without a doubt, always worth the splurge…even during dinner.
  • CORKAGE FEE: A $40 per 750mL bottle corkage fee applies, but between the fine selection of wines and signature cocktails, we’re sure you will find something you will love!
  • PARKING: Complimentary valet parking is available for your convenience at the restaurant’s entry.
  • PRICING: My choice of the three-course Classic Creole Luncheon for $32, which included the Commander’s Creole Gumbo, the Honey Lacquered Quail, and the Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé was reasonably priced, while my husband’s Good & Hearty three-course selection encompassed a bowl of the Commander’s Turtle Soup (in place of the Autumn Melon Soup listed on the menu), the Griddle Seared Gulf Fish, and the Sorbet du Jour as its three courses for a simple $29.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

THE COLCORD HOTEL… “Oklahoma City’s Historic Beauty!”

The Colcord Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City possesses more than just upscale convenience situated right in the middle of the city’s most popular block of downtown real estate. It also offers an environmentally-friendly historically-preserved elegance of years gone by featuring noteworthy detail and a memorable sophisticated charm.

Colcorde Hotel

The Colcord Building, originally completed in 1910 at a modest 12 stories high was then Oklahoma City’s first “skyscraper”. Construction was overseen by Charles Francis Colcord with such meticulous exterior touches as terra cotta adornments on the first, second, and twelfth levels of the building that still exist today. The main lobby proves to be a warm and welcoming invitation to the weary traveler or local visitor with its shiny marble flooring and massive columns, pops of vibrant accent colors throughout the space, as well as an original nickel and bronze letterbox, which can be observed near the guest elevators.

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A recent $16 million renovation is now complete bringing this luxury boutique hotel to an even higher standard. We were guests there while it was under construction, and again once the renovations were completed, and we can attest to the quality of workmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and catering to most any desire guests and visitors could possibly request. A member of the National Register of Historic Places as well as Historic Hotels of America, the Colcord Hotel now offers deluxe accommodations, spacious meeting and event accommodations, memorable and exciting dining venues, and is easily accessible to a multitude of nearby area attractions such as the Museum of Art, the Myriad Botanical Garden, and the Oklahoma National Memorial just to name a few.

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The Colcord Hotel guest suites dictate an opulently chic and comforting ambiance to all who step foot onto this lavish and prominent property. Earth tones assisted by vibrant bursts of colorful details by the inviting décor and custom artwork, spacious baths with double-sized glassed showers and large jetted soaking tubs, and Bvlgari amenities, and inviting living space for lounging or reading the day’s latest news with a complimentary cup of hot coffee or tea are just a few of the many points you must experience for yourself to truly appreciate. The hotel is cat-and-dog friendly, which our feline travel companion thoroughly enjoyed once her survey of our suite was complete.

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Flint Restaurant & Lounge

We have enjoyed a deluge of breakfast and brunch items from the creative Flint Restaurant & Lounge list of satisfying menu items. And the lounge offerings are just as abundant. The trendy and modernly-appointed venue located at the main entrance to the hotel offers access from the main lobby and plays host to some of the city’s most delectable bites, frothy libations, and eventful scheduled tastings throughout the year. Dine inside the cozy window-lined eatery with stunning views of the outdoors, or choose an outdoor seating option for enjoyment of the fresh air and passers by. The indoor/outdoor lounge also provides an expansive outdoor patio area showcasing a full outdoor bar, a wealth of comfortable seating, and amazing views of the hotel exterior just across from the flowing waters of the Myriad Botanical Gardens water feature that are sure to leave you spellbound and returning soon. You can read our past review of Flint Restaurant & Lounge at http://savorhour.com/?p=13182.

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Vast Restaurant

Vast possesses so much more than its breathtaking sweeping views over the city. The spell-casting experience the fine American cuisine Executive Chef Patrick Williams crafts for his guests truly is an unforgettable experience. See our past review of Vast at http://savorhour.com/?p=12675. Stop in for cocktails and appetizers window-side or at the elaborate modernly-equipped bar, or stay longer for a full dining experience as we did when we arrived. Either way, the presentations, customer service, and stunning environment will sweep you away to a place of culinary and visual contentment.

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Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

Directly adjacent to Colcord Hotel is the lush and colorful Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory where over 1,000 species of various plants from six continents exist among 17 acres of stunning gardens right in the center of downtown Oklahoma City. Seasonal concerts and events take place amidst this enchanting environment such as outdoor yoga classes, weddings, ice skating at the Devon Ice Rink in the winter, a mid-week market featuring fresh vegetables and other locally provided treats, and even Nighttime Stories In the Park for little ones during the warmer months. See the full website at www.myriadgardens.org.

The Colcorde Hotel offered to us any and all amenities we desired, and the staff went out of its way to accommodate special requests. We hope to return to the property in the future when sojourning across the great state of Oklahoma again. Our stay created lasting memories, and we truly hope that you will be able to find the time to enjoy it as much as we did!

  • PROPERTY: Chic sophistication is prominently evident, while the ambiance of the building itself has attained a standard of unparalleled customer service throughout the years. Formal and casual common areas throughout the hotel allow for ease and convenience of an early morning cup of coffee or a full on meal with all the accoutrements. Access from the property to area attractions is easily attainable, while visiting the Colcord Hotel provides comfort and elegance that is sure to win you over.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Efficiency and friendliness seems to be the motto of both servers as well as hotel staff at Colcord Hotel. If we needed anything, it was provided at once. If a request was unattainable, the staff found ways to see that it was taken care of. Sheer delightful attitudes, warm personalities, and professional demeanors in most all property staff we came into contact with.
  • PET FRIENDLINESS: The Colcord Hotel is a cat and dog-friendly property that adores the feline and canine visitor (as well as their human companions!) A 2-per room pet limit exists, and each pet is limited to a maximum of 85 pounds.
  • DINING OPTIONS: Besides the plethora of dining venues surrounding the property in downtown Oklahoma City, the hotel itself offers two incredible hotspots to add to your list of must-dos while there. FLINT RESTAURANT & LOUNGE presents all-day dining from breakfast through dinner and features an enthralling lounge with both indoor and outdoor serving capabilities. Check out the outdoor patio lounge at this modernly-adorned and conversation-piece space for meetings with friends for a drink after work, or an entire night of full-flavored dining options and tasty hand-shaken beverage concoctions. VAST RESTAURANT is also located high atop the Devon Tower connected to the Colcord Hotel. Located just a few steps from the hotel lobby adjoined by a glassed corridor, Vast Restaurant enchants with its futuristically-styled speed elevators that jet guests straight up to the eatery for an enjoyable dining experience and 360 degree views of the Oklahoma City skyline.
  • LOCATION: The Colcorde Hotel is conveniently located in downtown Oklahoma City at 15 North Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, OK 73102.
  • PARKING: A $25 parking fee applies per night, but allows accessible “in-and-out” privileges during your stay.
  • HOTEL AMENITIES: Amenities of the property include, but are not limited to wake-up calls with freshly-brewed coffee or tea, bottled water and newspapers daily, a 24-hour fitness center, complimentary shuttle service to many downtown Oklahoma City attractions every 1/2 hour between 8:00 AM and 11:00 PM, in-room complimentary WiFi and HEPA air purifiers, as well as plush bathrobes, bath towels, and Bvlgari bath amenities.

* Rates and prices subject to change without notice.

ENTERPRISE FISH COMPANY… “Classic Seafood Cuisine On The Patio!”

 Enterprise Fish Company is a place where a late lunch or early dinner turns from ordinary to spectacular just by walking through the glass etched entry doors of this historically-appointed establishment. Having been in business since 1979, the location was renovated to exude a “wharfside eatery” motif, while still holding true to its 1917 characteristics by leaving the original brick exterior, hardwood flooring, and wood trussed ceilings intact. Priding itself on its modern upscale interior complete with seating focused around an entertaining preview kitchen, glass fish sculpture behind the large full service bar, a mesmerizing saltwater aquarium, and spacious open seating arrangements, Enterprise Fish Company gives off a definite statement of comfort, success, and warmly welcomes patrons through its doors every time.

Enterprise Fish Company

We have enjoyed many visits on the restaurant’s heated bar patio tented with canvas triangles and lights strung overhead. Both cozy and comfortable, the patio offers more of a relaxed existence when the atmosphere gets a bit crowded and noisy inside. A privacy wall of greenery, an inviting fire pit, and ample seating options allow for an enjoyable meal, which is enhanced by an outdoor service bar to accommodate any libation requests quickly and satisfactorily.

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 An extensive Premium Happy Hour begins at 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday and lasts until 7:00 PM providing special pricing for select cocktails, appetizers, and seafood offerings. We have returned time and time again for the $1.00 Oysters On the Half Shell during Happy Hour to devour trays of the eatery’s succulent oysters, enjoy bottles of our own wine beside the fire pit, and savor much enjoyed time with good friends as we’ve shared memories of times long past and great times ahead.

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Corked Wine, Martinis & Incredible Sourdough Bread

Refreshing martinis, bottles of wine, and some of the most incredible house baked sourdough bread is served on the patio. Above, we have enjoyed making our way through bottles of wine from home, flavorsome Lychee martinis, and fresh crusty sourdough bread served with ample sweet cream butter.

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Snake River Kobe Beef Sliders

Enterprise Fish Company’s divine oysters are certainly one of the many things that lure us to the establishment. However, there are other enticements that satisfy those cravings for fresh quality fare. The Snake River Kobe Beef Sliders are one such item. Prepared using quality Kobe beef, these sliders arrive two to an order and are a perfect beginning of any occasion. Enhanced with cheese, hand-sliced tomato, crisp lettuce and crunchy fried onions, you’ll want to order more of these tantalizing bites of pure bliss.

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Steamed Mussels

If you like steamed mussels, you’re going to LOVE them at Enterprise Fish Company. These luscious shellfish are literally steamed in the heavenly cream and shallot sauce they are served with. Presented with a side of melted butter, these expertly prepared mollusks are tender and full of flavor.

INSIDER’S TIP: Take a slice of the sourdough bread and dip it into the cream-shallot sauce. The taste of the flavorful sauce-soaked bread is an absolute indulgence. A must-do when ordering the Steamed Mussels at Enterprise Fish Company!

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Oysters On the Half Shell

During Happy Hour, premium oysters are just ONE DOLLAR per tasty mollusk! In addition to the significant allure of the price, the quality and flavor will convince you to discover some of the best and freshest oysters in Santa Monica leaving you ordering tray after tray of them just like we often find ourselves doing. Presented with appropriate sauces and fresh lemon wedges, this is most definitely a huge hit.

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There’s nothing quite like an after-dinner stroll on the beaches of Santa Monica. Especially at sunset. Within steps from the restaurant lies a pristine sandy haven perfectly suited for many beach activities, people watching, and of course, stunning memorable sunsets.

A terrific and inviting environment perfect for most any occasion, fresh local seafood presentations and creative libations, and fairly priced cuisine topped off by an incredibly efficient and kind staff make Enterprise Fish Company one of our favorite locations to frequent on a regular basis.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: An inviting establishment with a historic presence and modernly updated interior and patio. Original hardwood flooring, brick front, and wooden trussed ceilings display character, while the nicely-appointed interior and outdoor bar area create alluring and comfortable dining space.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh and delicious seafood favorites satisfy, while creative mixologists craft exceptional libations at both the indoor and outdoor bars. In addition to the Happy Hour specials, there are gluten free options available as well.
  • LOCATION: Enterprise Fish Company is located at 174 Kinney Street in Santa Monica, CA 90405.
  • HOURS: Available for service Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 AM until 10:00 PM, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM, the restaurant also offers their Premium Happy Hour Monday through Saturday from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM, and on Sundays from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Additionally, a Late Night Happy Hour is available on Friday and Saturday from 9:00 PM through 11:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: We’ve always enjoyed the efficient and kind service we’ve received at Enterprise Fish Company. A friendly and punctual staff tops off the many reasons why we enjoy stopping in so much.
  • PRICE / VALUE: For the incredible quality of everything from fresh seafood, flavorful cocktails, or other favorites in such an upscale, yet casual environment, we feel the pricing is fair and reasonable.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $20 per 750 mL bottle.
  • PARKING: Spacious parking is available in a metered lot adjacent to the restaurant for your convenience.
  • PRICING: We often bring our own bottles of wine from home and have them opened at the restaurant for a $20 corkage charge per 750 mL bottle, while the Lychee martinis we have enjoyed came in at an easy $7 each. The Snake River Kobe Beef Sliders arrived at $7.95 per order, and the amazing Steamed Mussels were priced at $6.95 for all of that cream-shallot soaked goodness. Our trays of Oysters On the Half Shell during Happy Hour are $1 per oyster, coming in at just $12 per dozen.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

BRIO TUSCAN GRILLE… “Italian Cuisine On The Lighter Side!”

 Located within the prestigious Perimeter Center in an upscale distinguished area of northern Georgia, Brio Tuscan Grille impressed us with its flavor-rich and calorie-curbed offerings detailed on a specialized menu catering to patrons keeping an eye on their caloric intake, but still desiring incredible tasting Italian fare. We had experienced Brio Tuscan Grille before in Scottsdale, Arizona, yet we didn’t explore the eatery’s Light Menu during that visit. Though that experience produced savory and memorable Italian dishes which we thoroughly enjoyed, we were happy to indulge in Brio’s Light Menu on this recent visit to another location.

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We arrived at the restaurant well after the sun had set. It was a cool clear evening, and we were enchanted by the glittering light cast onto the water’s surface beside the restaurant by an illuminated moon and a million twinkling stars overhead. Black and white striped canvases covered elongated windows outside, while our walk to the eatery’s front entry charmed with a stoned pathway into what waited for us inside.

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Indoors, the Tuscan theme continued within a spacious dining area complete with an action-packed preview kitchen off to one side. Soft lighting enveloped the entire area, while crisp white linens draped atop tables created an upscale appeal. We were then immediately shown to a perfectly prepared table awaiting our arrival by a gracious hostess.

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Once we had devoured several mouthfuls of hot oven baked sourdough bread with flax seed crackers on the side and sweet cream butter, we started with an adventure through the restaurant’s Light Menu items.

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Field Greens Salad

Delivering a flavor-packed experience, the Field Greens Salad proved vibrantly stunning in color, and bursting with fresh flavors from the fresh Roma tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, earthy pine nuts, and zesty balsamic vinegar. Containing just 270 calories, this salad presentation appeared sinful, yet offered a curbed calorie count leaving us satisfied by its appearance and culmination of complimentary tastes.

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Shrimptini

A creative and artistic spin on the traditional shrimp cocktail, the Shrimptini was a delightful offering from the Light Menu as well. Served in a martini glass with a base of fresh greens, large chilled shrimp were nestled proudly and served with a peppy cocktail sauce. A garnish of lemon and a flaxseed triangular cracker accompanied this offering. And for just 200 calories, this appetizer scored high with us as a precursor to our upcoming entrees.

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Grilled Mahi Mahi

The Grilled Mahi Mahi offering dazzled with appealing aromas of tomato and basil found in the vinaigrette dressing encompassed in this dish. Tender flaky Mahi Mahi was surrounded by hearty farro and bright green spinach. The delicately seasoned mild fish and colorful display of ingredients were complimented by the guilt-free 500 calories it possessed. This presentation convinced us that we could indulge in an Italian dish bursting with flavor without the guilt.

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Pasta Pesto

My husband loves anything with pesto. Especially homemade pesto! The Pasta Pesto selection arrived at just 550 calories, and included house made angel hair pasta and tender expertly-grilled chicken lovingly tossed with a mixture of caramelized onions, colorful roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, whole basil leaves, healthy spinach, and creamy feta cheese. You just cannot go wrong with this dish! A filling portion at a goal-appropriate calorie count with exciting hues, coordinating ingredients, and mouthwatering aromas of all our favorite culinary components.

Brio Tuscan Grille locations delight with anything you can imagine from Tuscan starters, artistic salads, vibrant filling entrees, and even gluten-free, low-calorie, and children’s menus. House made Italian desserts proven to impress when topping off the perfect meal add to the experience, not to mention the amazing value for the portions and quality of offerings available within a beautifully detailed surrounding.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: An evident Tuscan ambiance enveloped us from the moment we arrived, and was carried throughout our dining experience. Indoors, cozy booths and separate settings at romantically-dressed tables enchanted, while outside, boce courts haloed by strings of white lights and a stunning water view enthrall from the al fresco patio perfectly suited for out-of- doors dining.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh and festive presentations offered at reasonable prices. The restaurant offers a gluten-free menu as well as an offering of many tasty selections all for under 550 calories.
  • LOCATION: This particular Brio Tuscan Grille is located one mile north of Perimeter Mall at 700 Ashwood Parkway in Dunwoody, GA 30338.
  • HOURS: Available for lunch and dinner service, Brio Tuscan Grille serves Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 AM through 11:00 PM. The eatery also presents their Brio Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 3:30 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Jennifer was our server, and her professionalism and kindness was much appreciated.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Fair pricing for delicious and visually impressive Italian cuisine.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $15 per 750 mL bottle.
  • PARKING: A spacious lot is available for self-parking. In addition, valet service is available for your convenience at the main entrance.
  • PRICING: The elaborate and festive Shrimptini starter was pleasantly priced at $6.95, as well as the Field Greens Salad that came in at the same expense. The Grilled Mahi Mahi arrived for $17.50, which was very cost efficient, fair, and reasonable in our opinion for what was presented. The Pasta Pesto was accompanied by a pleasing $14.95 and completed our dinner nicely.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

DAVENPORT LOUNGE @ THE RITZ CARLTON NEW ORLEANS… “Chic Sophistication & Sultry Jazz!”

Being extremely familiar with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel New Orleans, my husband and I continue to patronize this establishment when sojourning through the Big Easy. The Davenport Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans Hotel delights with its sophisticated ambiance and upscale surroundings during the daytime, while on scheduled evenings, the lights are turned low and the jazzy sounds of popular crooners entertain the masses with their witty versions of time honored favorites and original compositions.

Davenport Lounge

We have enjoyed the vocals and talent of several headlining performers in the lobby lounge at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans over the years. And we received no less when we revisited this sultry inviting environment recently. Jeremy Davenport, who the lounge is named for, presents his memorable intonations and intimate renditions of classics and original tunes Thursday through Saturday beneath the allure of reds and blues lighting the stage, while Gerald French entertains the crowd every Wednesday evening. The lounge is also well-known for its Afternoon Tea service, which we have enjoyed numerous times on past stays.

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Signature Cocktails & Complimentary Bites

Ever savor the light flavors, yet highly potent contents of a Blonde Hurricane? Well, you can at the Davenport Lounge! We savored every last drop of this concoction made with Old New Orleans Crystal Rum, Luxardo, Vino Blanco, and pineapple and apple juices. Shaken over ice and served in a tall footed beverage glass, this chilly libation was then garnished with rum-soaked cherries perfectly aligned on a clear Fleur De Lis cocktail pick across the top of the glass. Craving more? Then opt for the Just Ask Jimi liquid temptation crafted with Ruby Red Grapefruit, Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germaine and Ginger Ale. Bubbly and refreshing, this particular offering resonated well with my taste for a great cocktail. The evening continued on and we enjoyed rum cocktails, Grey Goose Pear martinis, and house made snacks in addition.

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Redfish Tacos

We continued our journey across the pages of the Davenport Lounge menu by next ordering the Redfish Tacos, which not only sounded delicious, but satisfied our curiosity once we sank our teeth into these grilled soft tortilla encased pockets of savory flavor. Vibrant colors and a succulent combination of tastes proved superlative by the mirliton slaw, chipotle aioli, bright bell pepper strips and tender sautéed chunks of fresh Red Fish. This menu selection was served with a side salad large enough to share with a second diner, so be prepared for a filling, somewhat guilt-free flavor experience.

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Jambalya Fritters

Another memorable item we devoured quickly were the Jambalaya Fritters. (Think jambalaya with a crunch!) A culmination of such ingredients as seasoned sausage, bell pepper, tomatoes, tender beans, celery, Creole seasoning, and much more formed into orbs, and quickly flash fried in a crispy coating. Top all of that off with a heaping dollop of chipotle aioli, and you’ve got yourself something extra special to indulge in.

Elegant appointments of rich hues and lavish furnishings, chic décor, and a dignified ambiance will surround you at Davenport Lounge. Newly updated menu items will leave you satisfied, while the entire experience will give you no choice but to return again very soon.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The Davenport Lounge is set within a comforting and relaxing lobby complete with a full bar. Skilled mixologists shake up favorite classics as well as signature features sure to please. Classic upholstered wing-backed armchairs, soft inviting sofas, and multiple coves and nooks provide intimate spaces to watch the entertainment, enjoy libations and flavorsome bites, and spend quality time with those you care most about in the upscale surroundings.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Contemporary upgrades on traditional Creole favorites, fresh salad accompaniments, memorable flavors, and a nice selection to choose from.
  • LOCATION: Davenport Lounge is conveniently situated in the main lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New Orleans at 921 Canal Street in New Orleans, LA 70112 in the Central Business District.
  • HOURS: The Lounge is available Sunday through Thursdays from 11:00 AM until Midnight, and on Fridays and Sundays from 11:00 AM until 1:00 AM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Sufficient staff provides reasonable service in the lounge to accommodate patronizing guests.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Quality ingredients demand worthy pricing for the items at Davenport Lounge. But all are well worth the splurge, as we found on our most recent visit.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $35 per 750 mL bottle
  • PARKING: Street parking is available nearby, but don’t forget the convenience of valet service at the main entrance into the property. Valet tickets may be validated with purchase in the lounge.
  • PRICING: The Blonde Hurricanes were priced at $12, while the Just Ask Jimi libations came in at a fair $14. The rum cocktails were presented for $10, and the Grey Goose Pear Martinis arrived at $12 each. The Redfish Tacos were offered at $20, while the Jambalaya Fritters were acceptably priced at $11.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

DELPHI GREEK CUISINE… “Iconic Gyros & Succulent Moussaka!”

At first arrival, Delphi Greek Cuisine invites with a subtle romantic vibe, comforts with its azure tinted lighting, and seduces with its Greek themed music and succulent aromas wafting from the restaurant’s kitchen. The realization of something special and unique lingers for a while, then is proven by what you discover during your entry inside and the enlightening experience you will enjoy at this culinary establishment.

Delphi Greek

Delphi Greek Cuisine is named after a contemporary Greek town, and has been producing the same delicious and consistent Greek cuisine for the citizens of Los Angeles since 1985. Doubling as a popular catering restaurant, many corporate events have also been privy to the restaurant’s speedy delivery service in the area, which has proven sublime for those ordering large quantities of fully customizable Greek cuisine for their get-togethers and celebrations.

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Each meal is started with a presentation of the eatery’s light and fluffy baked bread served in a napkin-lined wicker basket. A cobalt blue glass dish that coordinates with the restaurant’s table candleholders is offered with creamy butter delivered by a friendly server ready to offer a wealth of delicious Greek fare and wines to compliment most any mood you’re in.

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Vegetarian Dolmades, Garden Salad & Avgolemono Soup

We began this particular encounter with the establishment’s Vegetarian Dolmades. Having enjoyed both the vegetarian and the meat-filled versions before, these flavorsome tender grape leaves were wrapped around a scrumptious rice, onions, and herb mixture, then were lovingly drizzled with a savory lemon-based sauce and garnished with fresh chopped parsley. The Garden Salad accompanied the dolmades in this first round of culinary tastes and displayed such crisp vegetables as sliced garden tomatoes, crunchy cucumber rounds, bright green bell pepper strips, and colorful red onion. We continued with the Avgolemono Soup, which is my favorite Greek soup in the world! A chicken broth is combined with whipped egg, fluffy seasoned rice and lemon juice, then placed in a serving bowl and topped off with parsley leaves. We highly recommend this soup. I could literally eat it for every meal of the day.

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Savory Wines & Delphi Gyro Sandwiches

Ah, the famous gyro sandwich. We’ve indulged in many variations of this Greek sandwich over the last several years. Delphi Greek Cuisine’s simple approach to crafting their gyro sandwiches speaks volumes, while the ingredients convince you of their quality and freshness. Options of beef, chicken or lamb are available, and this menu choice also comes with your choice of a small Garden Salad, chips, or bowl of Avgolemono Soup. We always decide on the lamb preparation, which is tender, succulent with juices bursting from the meat, and always moist and delicious. Sliced tomato, red onion, and of course, a cool and creamy addition of tzatziki sauce are also added to complete this popular Greek selection. Our server recommended a nice Cabernet to compliment our meal.

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Delphi Moussaka

When we tasted the Moussaka dish at Delphi Greek Cuisine, we were sold instantly. A melody of layered meat and thinly-sliced eggplant was beautifully compiled with a zesty tomato sauce, fresh regional herbs, and a succulent palatableness that awakened our flavor receptors like a lively Greek celebration. Presented in a tall layer-cake style, this casserole-esque presentation was a hit from beginning to end and was served with steamed vegetables and rice.

A simply foolproof method to a rumbling stomach and an appetite for fine authentic Greek cuisine, Delphi Greek Cuisine truly is a guaranteed go-to establishment just waiting to allure you with its consistently flavorful cuisine, friendly service from the staff, and intimate and cozy ambiance.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The restaurant’s convenient sidewalk entrance entices you inside where the entire dining room is set in a cobalt blue hue. Eclectic items of décor are strategically placed throughout the eatery, while the dining room presents cozy tables, yet ample spaciousness.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Delphi Greek Cuisine produces continually consistent quality fare and wines that keep us returning for more.
  • LOCATION: Delphi Greek Cuisine is located at 1383 Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA 90024 in the same location since it’s inception in 1985.
  • HOURS: The eatery is open daily, and serves breakfast from 8:30 AM until 11:00 AM. Lunch begins at 11:00 AM then stops at 4:00 PM, when dinner selections are presented until 11:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: One of the main items that brings us back to Delphi Greek Cuisine time and time again besides the savory Greek fare and varied selection of items is the service. Always attentive, always smiling and happy to see you, and always friendly.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Reasonable prices for extremely high quality Greek offerings.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $13 per 750mL bottle.
  • PARKING: Street parking is available in front of the establishment as well as along the side streets. We have been lucky enough to actually get a front-of-the-restaurant parking space on several occasions to our satisfaction.
  • PRICING: Our bottle of wine was priced at $35 for the bottle, while the Gyro Sandwiches were offered at $8.99 (including a choice of a side salad, soup, or chips). The Vegetarian Dolmades came in at an acceptable $6.99 for the ample portion that was served, bringing the sensational meaty Moussaka entrée to a fairly-priced $14.99.

Delphi Greek on Urbanspoon

Delphi Greek Cuisine on Restaurantica

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

LUMINARIA RESTAURANT & PATIO @ THE INN & SPA AT LORETTO… “More Culinary Goodness From Chef Sparman!”

Luminaria Restaurant & Patio offers more than just a terrific meal. It offers a culinary experience worth stopping by for. On another divine encounter with Chef Bret Sparman’s savory flavor-filled temptations at this divinely-appointed and savory flavor-laced menu of delicious fare, we indulged in a satisfying breakfast before heading out to explore more of the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Luminaria Restaurant & Patio menus offer so many decisive selections on its well-planned out selection of items available. Its prime array of breakfast items is tempting, to say the least, as well as full of appetizing-sounding dishes that we just had to dive right into.

Luminaria (Bfast)

The interior décor of Luminaria Restaurant advertises its upscale modern Santa Fe casual comfort, while embracing an upscale display of cool earth tones, warm focal points displaying bursts of vibrant color, and well-planned out spaciousness throughout with its beamed ceilings overhead and inclusion of the true feel of what Santa Fe is all about.

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Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice & English Breakfast Tea

We started with offerings of fresh squeezed orange juice and Mighty Leaf English Breakfast tea. As we sipped our early A.M. beverages, we appreciated the artistic style of the wall-mounted wooden shelving that supported large rounded candles against a neutral grey hue. Perusing the menu, we both found what we desired right away without hesitation.

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Toasted Bagel With Smoked Salmon

Scrumptious thinly sliced smoked salmon was piled high atop a toasted bagel and accompanied in flavor by a zesty green chile cream cheese for a Santa Fe kick. Pungent capers and fresh red onion joined this compilation of deliciousness, as my husband relished in the flavors of tender chilled smoked salmon, a perfectly-toasted warm bagel, and one of the most wonderful morning get-togethers we’d experienced together on this particular trip to Santa Fe.

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Loretto Eggs Benedict

You just haven’t had Eggs Benedict until you’ve enjoyed them at Luminaria Restaurant & Patio. Not only visually appealing, but sensational in taste and preparation as well, this morning entrée was filling enough to keep me full until a late lunch, yet not so overindulgent that it weighed me down. An exceptional presentation that I would definitely order again.

Chef Sparman uses only cage free eggs, and follows the basic principles of sustainability throughout his menu creations. Additionally, an egg substitute may be ordered by special request in the event you prefer your breakfast without real eggs. I, of course, went for the cage free deliciousness of the restaurant’s Eggs Benedict preparation, which was delightful with its silky and luxurious Hollandaise foam topping, bright green asparagus, thinly-shaved mouthwatering ham, and accompaniment of Santa Fe style breakfast potatoes.

All in all, a noteworthy dining experience topped off by an educational tour of the town’s museums, local artistry showcased curbside, and stunning views of present and past.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Cool grays assume the major color background inside the eatery, while warm pops of inviting colors welcome and intrigue dining patrons. The restaurant is spacious and cozy at the same time offering a full bar, an extensive display of refined customer service, and a delectable breakfast menu of items sure to please most any visitor.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh fare creatively presented by Chef Sparman’s culinary genius. The cuisine at Luminaria will excite and tempt the palate, while taking the diner on a flavor-laden ride without pause.
  • LOCATION: Luminaria Restaurant & Patio is conveniently located on the first floor of the Inn & Spa At Loretto at 211 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe, NM 87501.
  • HOURS: Chef Sparman’s exquisite culinary experiences may be enjoyed daily for breakfast from 7:00 AM until 11:00 AM, and lunch from 11:30 AM through 2:00 PM. Dinner is available from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM, and Sunday Brunch is offered from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Additionally, there is an available early dining menu presented daily from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: One of the many reasons we enjoy patronizing Luminaria Restaurant & Patio is the unparalleled customer service. Significant satisfaction among restaurant guests is definite.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Fair, reasonable, and well worth the experience.
  • CORKAGE FEE: No outside alcohol is allowed inside of the establishment.
  • PARKING: Visiting guests may take advantage of the property’s valet service, while in-house guests have their vehicles taken care of via the overnight parking by the inn.
  • PRICING: The fresh squeezed orange juice and Mighty Leaf English Breakfast tea arrived at $4 each. My husband’s Toasted Bagel With Smoked Salmon was graciously served at a reasonable $16, while my choice of the Loretto Eggs Benedict was fairly priced at $16 as well.

Luminaria on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

SISLEY ITALIAN KITCHEN… “Keeping Tuscan Cuisine Thriving In The Valley!”

 Looking for a Tuscan-designed Italian eatery boasting a casual atmosphere, an in-house bakery and deli, and popularly known for its fair pricing and savory cuisine? Then look no further than one of the Sisley Italian Kitchen locations in Southern California. We often visit the Sherman Oaks locale across from the Sherman Oaks Galleria, and can happily report that we have enjoyed every meal we have been served at this beautifully-appointed eatery.

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Seating is offered both inside, and outdoors along a wall of windows. After dark, tiny white lights are illuminated creating a romantic ambiance out of doors that most anyone will appreciate. Upon being seated in a cozy booth or accommodating table, menus are presented and wines are opened, while an ample serving of the restaurant’s fragrant and savory honey-basil oven-baked bread is served with olive oil as diners peruse the list of culinary delights available.

Sisley Cold Poached Salmon

Cold Poached Salmon

In lieu of the traditional baked salmon presentation, we delighted in the Cold Poached Salmon option from the extensive menu this time. Fresh Atlantic Salmon was gently poached and presented chilled with a dill aioli that we had placed on the side. The accompaniment of a cucumber and tomato salad joined the salmon making this dish a perfectly guilt-free, yet scrumptious and savory choice.

Sisley Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

The Chicken Marsala arrived steaming and vibrantly colorful with its thin-sliced tender chicken breast that was lovingly sautéed with earthy-tasting mushrooms, zesty green onions, and a flavorful Marsala wine. Mashed potatoes and fresh steamed vegetables were added as sides, thus making this entrée selection a perfectly rounded option.

Sisley Bolognese Ravioli

Homemade Ravioli Of The Day

Sisley Italian Kitchen offers a delicious homemade ravioli made daily. This particular visit to the restaurant, we indulged in the eatery’s handmade cheese ravioli served with a savory Bolognese sauce on top. Hearty meat smothered with a tantalizing red sauce and perfectly-seasoned with fresh herbs and crushed tomatoes.

Whether meeting for a delicious relaxed Sunday Brunch, a visit with associates or friends at the bar for Happy Hour, or on a romantic meeting with the one you love, Sisley Italian Kitchen is an ideal location to create that lasting impression with its  comforting ambiance, spot-on service, and delectable Italian fare.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: A contemporary Tuscan ambiance envelops diners upon first arrival. A convenient and romantic outdoor patio dining area allows for meals al fresco, while inside, the continued comforting warmth of hues invites and consoles with a menu sure to please.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh ingredients are responsible for such exquisite flavors that are prevalent in the cuisine at Sisley Italian Kitchen. Icy beverages from the bar and an exemplary wine list will also add to the savory edible pleasures at this eatery. Gluten-free pastas may be used in pasta entrees for an additional $2.00 as well. Weekly specials are offered in addition, so don’t forget to consider those on your next visit.
  • LOCATION: This particular Sisley Italian Kitchen is located at 15300 Ventura Boulevard – Suite 200B in Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 across from the Sherman Oaks Galleria.
  • HOURS: The eatery serves Monday through Thursday from 11:30 AM until 10:00 PM, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 AM through 11:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:30 PM through 9:00 PM. Happy Hour is extremely popular as we’ve witnessed a few times and is available Monday through Thursday from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM, Saturdays from 8:00 PM through 10:00 PM, and on Sundays you can enjoy “All Day Fun Day” when happy Hour specials are offered from the time the doors open to closing time.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Attentive, efficient, friendly, and happy to suggest specials and recommendations for patrons.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Reasonable pricing for the quality of the cuisine, friendliness and efficiency of the staff, and romantic and relaxing ambiance of the establishment. This wasn’t our first time at Sisley Italian Kitchen, and it certainly will not be our last!
  • CORKAGE FEE: $10 per 750mL bottle
  • PARKING: Valet service is available in a next door parking garage, which we have used with ease in the past.
  • PRICING: The Cold Poached Salmon came in at an acceptable $15.95, while the Chicken Marsala entrée was a reasonable $17.35. The Homemade Ravioli of the Day arrived at $9.95, and the three bottles of wine we consumed over dinner were most enjoyable at a fair corkage fee of $10 apiece.

Sisley Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sisley Italian Kitchen on Restaurantica

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

OLD OYSTER FACTORY… “The Island’s Go-To Spot For Great Oysters & Stunning Sunsets!”

For more than 20 years, Old Oyster Factory waterfront seafood restaurant has been serving the Lowcountry’s cravings for fresh seafood, savory steak presentations, and oysters in particular among many other specialty items crafted in the restaurant’s kitchen by Chef Andy Love. Formerly, the location existed as the Old Broad Creek Oyster Factory that sat atop a one-story concrete authentic oyster cannery many years ago which harvested, canned, and shipped their collective mollusks to the surrounding Lowcountry areas. Over the years, the marshes of Broad Creek became protected from commercial harvesting, which is the stunning backdrop you see now from the restaurant’s multiple observation areas.

Oyster Factory

Old Oyster Factory prides itself for being a premier seafood restaurant catering to area locals as well as those who visit occasionally (like ourselves) on a regular basis when sojourning through the South. Scores of tourists flock to this eatery for the same fresh seafood favorites year after year, many becoming regulars when they return.

The views alone, especially at sunset, are worth the drive or flight to stop in and see what everyone raves about here. Unimaginable views of the marshlands of Broad Creek expand as far as the eye can see while as the sun sets slowly beyond the horizon, the view becomes even more magical. At certain times of year, one may sometimes also catch a glimpse of the rowing team of a local scholastic institution drifting past as shown below.

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Dining at Old Oyster Factory can be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable casual affairs one can imagine. A plethora of specialty entrees from Stuffed Flounder to divine succulent steaks, to signature pasta compilations to oysters prepared as plentiful as one can imagine, to refreshing libations and Bar Menu items will leave you speechless and ready for more. The establishment offers their popular Happy Hour from 4:45 PM until 8:00 PM, as well as a famous Sunset Menu featuring 2-course flavor-rich items that will leave you both happily pleased with the price and excited to partake in such a culinary event.

INSIDER’S TIP: Be sure to try the restaurant’s hushpuppies…they’re a favorite sinful conglomeration of secret-recipe ingredients that you won’t regret trying for yourself.

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Old Oyster Factory Greyhound, Oysters Savannah & Oysters Rockefeller

When enjoying raw oysters, I have made it a tradition to enjoy Greyhounds as my libation choice for such a culinary involvement. It’s just something I began years ago, and it sort of stuck, so that’s where that came from. Above, the Oysters Savannah are crafted with shrimp, crab meat and smoked bacon stuffed into a half shell then smothered with Cheddar cheese and baked again in a hot oven until they are lightly browned on top and calling to you with their visual appeal and enchanting aroma. And a traditional stand-by favorite, the Oysters Rockefeller with their smoked bacon, spinach and sinful Béarnaise sauce really hit the spot in conjunction with the other oyster variations we have experienced.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Complete with an expansive deck and outdoor covered porch dining area, Old Oyster Factory offers panoramic views of the area’s stunning sunsets over the expansive marsh landscape of Broad Creek. A spacious indoors allows for multiple seating options including private dining rooms, open traditional seating for dinner, and an accommodating bar in the roomy lounge overlooking a serene water view. Indoors, patrons will feel welcomed with warm woods throughout, the cozy feeling of being somewhere comforting, and assured that they have arrived somewhere where they will be greatly appreciated.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh seafood is the restaurant’s specialty, while savory steaks and other comforting dishes appeal to most anyone. A special Gluten-Free menu is available, as well as a menu for lighter entrees. We have made this our home for enjoying oysters in the lounge when we visit the Lowcountry of South Carolina. From Happy Hour oysters on the half shell, to Oysters Savannah and Oysters Rockefeller, there truly is no place better that we have found in the area for indulging. Additionally, the eatery’s Sunset Menu offers a 2-course menu selection for just $15.99 a person.
  • LOCATION: Old Oyster Factory is conveniently located at 101 Marshland Road on Hilton Head Island, SC 29926.
  • HOURS: Open daily from 4:45 PM through 10:00 PM daily, Old Oyster Factory offers their famous Happy Hour in the lounge and at the bar from 4:45 PM until 8:00 PM, as well as a pretty satisfying Sunset Menu from 4:45 PM until 5:45 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The staff at this establishment could not be kinder, more accommodating, or more friendly. They treat newcomers like old friends, and locals just the same creating a feeling of family at any given time.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The value of the cuisine and beverages offered is spot on in our opinion. Never have we felt anything was overpriced for the quality of what was offered or that the fare was never at its top freshness.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $15 per 750mL bottle
  • PARKING: We have always self-parked our own vehicle when visiting Old Oyster Factory in the past, however on more populated evenings, we have noticed that valet service is available at the drive in front of the main entrance.
  • PRICING: The Oysters Savannah and Oysters Rockefeller we have enjoyed on our numerous visits to Old Oyster Factory were fairly priced at $14 for a half dozen and $26 for a full dozen. We have also ordered the Hot Combination (including a half dozen of each preparation) for the same pricing. During Happy Hour in the lounge area, we have enjoyed fresh chilled 75-cent oysters on the half shell by the dozens at a single sitting.

Hilton Head Island The Old Oyster Factory on Restaurantica

* Menu and pricing subject to change without notice.

 

 

 

YARD HOUSE RESTAURANT @ RED ROCK CASINO RESORT & SPA … “Red Rock’s Diamond In The Rough!”

Yard House Restaurant at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada has become a compelling destination eatery ready to put a memorable spark in your evening, a little American-Fusion fare into your culinary involvement, and if you’re a brew connoisseur, a certain spring in your step with their impressive selection of draft beers, the variety of upscale American fare, and a Classic Rock soundtrack to make anyone relive fond memories of years gone by. A definite conversation-piece locale, Yard House at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa has been around since 2009. Since this locale opened, it has received only rave reviews from critics and consistent return visits from its regulars and visitors alike.

Yard House

Yard House began as a Southern California-based upscale American-Fusion establishment proud of its collective selection of ales, great atmosphere, and memorable fare. Currently spanning sixteen states in America, Yard House has certainly made its mark on the country with each location boasting one of the world’s largest collections of draft brews and is known for its reasonable prices for extraordinarily mouthwatering presentations of items from burgers to exquisite seafood entrees, to ribs to many comforting house favorites that are sure to have you returning for more.

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Showcasing miles of stainless steel beer lines (literally) stretching overhead from a glassed-in keg room to the center-stage island bar offering a definite conversation piece factor, Yard House Red Rock offers something for every patrons’ taste whether it be a tasting of an array of the ales on tap at the bar, a hand shaken signature martini, or a non-alcoholic concoction crafted by one of the Yard House mixologists on site.

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Ginger Crusted Norwegian Salmon

We indulged in some quite influential entrees from the menu on our most recent visit to the restaurant. The first was the Ginger Crusted Norwegian Salmon presented with wasabi mashed potatoes, carrots, snow peas, a spicy peanut vinaigrette, and fried carrot strips. The colorful green snow peas brought a vibrant appeal to this dish, while the tender cooked salmon combined with an incredible peanut-based vinaigrette with a spicy kick delivered on so many levels.

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BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger

When that hankering for a great burger starts to nag at you, try Yard House’s BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger. Constructed with apple wood smoked bacon, rum BBQ sauce and that signature Yard House garlic aioli, you will find that this sandwich will most definitely hit the spot and keep those cheeseburger cravings at bay. The sweetness of the apple wood bacon was a nice contrast against the creamy melted cheddar cheese and garlic-essence aioli, while the meaty taste of the beef cooked-to-order was bursting with savory tenderness and flavor.

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New York Steak Sandwich

Partner and Executive Chef Carlito Jocson certainly knew what he wanted in terms of components for his NY Steak Sandwich. Crafted with grilled bread and that popular signature garlic aioli, this sandwich boasts flavor, an ingenious conglomeration of ingredients, and a memorable taste that will make you order it again and again. Cooked-to-order, starting with roasted Roma tomatoes that burst when bitten into, wholesome layers of melted Swiss cheese, and crunchy fried onions with an accompaniment of sweet potato fries on the side that are not only a healthier selection, but I think an excellent companion that brings out the flavor of this steak sandwich.

Yard House Restaurant at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa requires no explanation. It simply is great food encompassing extraordinary flavors, popular and rock classics playing throughout the eatery as well as big games being aired on the numerous flat screen televisions, and an ambiance of relaxation, coziness, and comfort all in a welcoming and casual atmosphere. Whether it’s for a meal out for a large gathering, a romantic dinner out, or just a drink at the bar with an old friend (or a new one!), take a few hours out of your schedule to visit Yard House restaurant to see for yourself just how incredible an experience it can be.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR:This fun and vivacious energy-filled establishment offers over 130 savory temptations on its flavor-rich menu including a plethora of choices of distinct ales and signature cocktails proudly shown off by the miles-long piping of liquids overhead leading from a glass-enclosed keg room to the center-of-attention bar area. Comforting booths and alternative seating give diners plenty of room to relax and take everything in, while enjoying games on a number of flat screen televisions, delicious mouthwatering bites, and refreshing adult beverages. Additionally, the original artwork of Contemporary American artist Jerome Gastaldi is proudly displayed throughout the eatery expelling his take on the energetic vibe of the establishment. The resort was named “One Of the World’s Best New
    Hotels” in the 2007 “Hot List” issue of Conde Nast Magazine.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Large portions are served by a friendly wait staff, refreshing beverages offer a cure for that Las Vegas thirst, and the quality of the cuisine from Chef Carlito will impress without a doubt amongst the 130 items available on the menu. There are also several vegetarian and gluten-free items on the extensive menu, as well as several choices available for under 600 calories. Brews are served at a consistent chilled temperature of between 34 and 36 degrees to maintain optimal refreshing quality.
  • LOCATION: Yard House Restaurant @ Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa is located at 11011 West Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas, NV 89135.
  • HOURS: Yard House is available for lunch daily from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM. The restaurant is open on Sundays starting at 10:00 AM, and Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM. Happy Hour offers1/2-price appetizers, pizza-style bites, and so much more Monday through Friday from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, and from Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 PM until closing.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Sincere professional service is supported by a smiling and efficient wait staff.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The quality of the environment, staff, and cuisine speak for themselves at Yard House.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $15 per 750 mL bottle.
  • PARKING: There is ample complimentary parking in the lot just outside of the restaurant in the Red Rock Resort’s parking area.
  • PRICING: The Ginger Crusted Norwegian Salmon came in at an acceptable $22.85, while my BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger arrived at a palatable $11.85. The New York Steak Sandwich was fairly priced on the menu at $16.95, and the refreshing Arnold Palmers were $3.75 each.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

ODYSSEY RESTAURAUNT & EVENT CENTER… “Panoramic Views Of The San Fernando Valley!”

High atop the immensely unmistakable hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley in Granada Hills, California sits Odyssey Restaurant. Established in 1958, this eatery is so much more than a location to just enjoy a fine meal worth raving about. Also a full-service event and catering facility, Odyssey Restaurant & Event Center boasts seven private gathering rooms offset from the main dining area to accommodate most any large or intimate gathering.

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Entering the property’s main entry, guests are taken through a self-guided experience past the calming sound of waterfalls, babbling fountains, koi ponds, and lavish foliage-laden stone walls before entering the actual building. Inside, the designated buffet area is enhanced with wall fountains, climbing ivy, skylights, and views of the spacious lounge and bar area with views through a wall of windows overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

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Once we were seated at our table, a courteous and friendly server appeared with menus and explained the Seafood Buffet area to us. After listening to the offerings the varietal area of delicious seafood items and other sinful conglomerations of flavor in the buffet area, we were sold and each chose to take that culinary route. We especially enjoyed the bread offering at Odyssey. Warm sliced baguettes served in a napkin lined black wire basket accompanied by the restaurant’s popular pesto-basil butter. Certainly an item not to be missed when visiting this unique and enjoyable locale.

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Vegetable Pasta

Another addition item included in the Seafood Buffet is the eatery’s original pasta bar. Just walk over to the chef behind the glass-covered area presenting every flavor and color imaginable for the perfect pasta dish, and order to your heart’s desire. We enjoyed a Pesto Basil sauce with angel hair, and the above Vegetable Pasta offering. Perfectly al dente cooked angel hair pasta swirled within a savory mixture of fresh pan sautéed vegetables, flavorsome marinara sauce, and offered beautifully on a large white serving dish. Of course, the added freshly-grated Parmesan cheese on top was my husband’s idea, which I definitely concurred with, making this Italian choice even more delicious than it already was.

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Chef’s Signature Dishes & Chilled Seafood Selections

Tantlizing options such as Chilled Crab Legs, Peel n’ Eat Shrimp, New Zealand Green Lip Steamed Mussels, Cajun Catfish with Cajun Butter Sauce, Fresh Atlantic Salmon with Shrimp and Garlic Sauce, Baked Basa Flounder with Lemon Butter and Capers, and so much more are readily available according to the kitchen’s scheduled menu for the day.

Odyssey

Dessert Bar

Don’t forget those sweet and tempting items prepared especially for after your meal is complete. Sugary offerings such as signature cakes, colorful fresh fruit, house baked cookies and confections, and custards made to tantalize the palate and satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Odyssey’s ‘M’ Drink Mondays, when Margaritas, Mojitos, and Margaritas are only $5 is another exciting reason to stop in. Taco Tuesdays bring in the crowd with handcrafted signature tacos at just $3 each, while on Wednesdays, you can get half-off ALL bottled wines or get $3 glasses of house wine selections.

So much to offer with amazing views of the area from atop the Granada Hills in California. Why not give Odyssey a chance to delight your senses, tempt your culinary cravings, and satisfy the romantic inside you around the evening fire pit lighting at this truly unique and special dining and event venue.

 

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: This expansive venue for events and culinary experiences alike from a formal dining area to a full buffet space to a lively bar and lounge and outdoor patio complete with fire pits overlooking Granada Hills and the San Fernando Valley is enough to mesmerize any soul that enters this establishment. The oak paneling, shiny brass appointments, and traditional details in the décor complete with koi ponds, fountains, and waterfalls enchant and set at ease most anyone stepping foot on this property.
  • FOOD / DRINK: We have enjoyed Odyssey Restaurant & Event Venue’s Seafood Buffet presentation on more than one occasion. Always requesting and getting a window seat for the stunning view from atop the restaurant’s hilltop location, we have always thoroughly enjoyed our visits to this establishment. The menu offers a nice selection of gluten-free items as well including salads and gluten-free pastas.
  • LOCATION: Odyssey Restaurant & Event Venue is located at 15600 Odyssey Drive in Granada Hills, CA 91344.
  • HOURS: Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM, while the establishment is available for business Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM as well as on Fridays and Saturdays from 4:00 PM until 11:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Kind and efficient servers and bartenders are ready to fulfill your culinary and beverage requests made to order. Suggestions of specials are presented, while the staff maintains an extraordinarily forthcoming and genuine approach toward each guest.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Appropriate according to the quality of the cuisine served and available, with a beautifully relaxing ambiance to enjoy a meal or a visit to the lounge within.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $15 per 750mL bottle
  • PARKING: There is ample complimentary parking in the expansive lot in front of the restaurant’s main entry. In the evenings, valet service is there to make your visit a bit more convenient.
  • PRICING: My husband and I enjoyed the Seafood Buffet in lieu of ordering off of the standard menu. The listed price of each buffet was $36.87 each.

The Odyssey Restaurant and Event Center on Urbanspoon

Odyssey on Restaurantica

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

THE GRILL ROOM @ THE WINDSOR COURT HOTEL NEW ORLEANS… “Southern Sophistication In The Heart Of The Big Easy!”

New Orleans is a place of mystical allure, defined culinary ingredients, and Southern hospitality that continues to impress visitors and those who have lived there a lifetime. It is a city that offers a multitude of variety, a willful personality, and sometimes a walk on the carefree side of life. It is an area that has seen tough times, but one that has also pulled through together in times of disparity and unforeseen loss. It is a community that has recovered from some of the toughest times in its history. At one time, the town’s motto was “We’re coming back!”, which is stitched on a couple of baseball caps my husband and I were given as reminders of the time we volunteered several weeks in the city assisting in the handing out of much needed supplies to those left with nothing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We found that the people there have a common thread running between them…that they have soul, that they have a fierce desire to forge ahead in times of incredible loss, that they possess the strength to stare adversity straight in the face and say they are not going to lie down until their city is back up and running again. This is what impresses us most about the Crescent City and those who call it home.

After some sustained damage, The Windsor Court Hotel also returned to its original grandeur after riding out the storm with guests inside. Today, the property stands tall once again, and inside this lavish property is housed the hotel’s flagship dining venue simply titled The Grill Room. We had the distinct pleasure of visiting this culinary treasure recently during a fine dining experience that we had to share with our readers.

The Grille Room @ Windsor Court Hotel

Every year since 2005, The Grill Room at The Windsor Court Hotel has received the AAA “Four Diamond” and Forbes “Four Star” awards for its immaculate and distinguished fare, enchanting ambiance, and superior service. The venue is one of only three “Four Star” / ”Four Diamond” restaurants in Louisiana. The main dining room of the restaurant features an elaborate (and quite accurately depicted) wall mural of actual members of New Orleans society. A perfect conversation piece over dinner, my husband and I started taking turns identifying who each individual was in the immense picture. Besides that mural, the restaurant’s interior décor includes dramatic rich hues, fresh fragrant floral arrangements strategically placed within the dining venue, rich wood furniture, and comfortable leather seating, which enhanced the sophisticated motif of the establishment.

The Grill Room

Chef de Cuisine, Daniel Causegrove prepared an exquisite meal for us during our visit to The Grill Room. Starting with his amuse-bouche of sorbet, champagne grapes, Dijon mustard and a tantalizing duck reduction, we were entranced and pulled directly into his culinary spell. The colorful champagne grapes popped with color and flavor, while the rich tastes of the Dijon and refreshing orb of icy sorbet tied everything together nicely and efficiently. Additionally, fresh oven baked bread and muffins were served with a chilled sweet cream butter to start our meal off on a delightful note.

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Beef Tartare

The Beef Tartare appetizer at The Grill Room includes the Chef’s 141 Soft Egg, crispy shallots, a creamy parsley Aioli, and a house made caper mustard with a bacon soda thyme cracker. A wholesome flavor experience enhanced with Enoki mushrooms will not only leave you visually pleased, but will tastefully romance your taste buds as well.

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Grill Room Caesar

The Grill Room Caesar is a classic selection from the menu at The Grill Room. Chilled crisp Romaine lettuce, a One-Hour Egg, white anchovies, pickled onions, and garlic-parmesan crumbs create a mouthwatering and savory occurrence with this popular selection from the menu.

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Roasted Gulf Snapper

My husband’s Roasted Gulf Snapper arrived surrounded in a cloud of magnificent aromas that trailed its delivery from the kitchen. From the Leidenheimer French Bread Pudding to the succulent well-prepared mussels and shrimp to the heirloom cherry tomato nage that accompanies this incredible dish from start to finish, every component of the Roasted Gulf Snapper was superbly prepared and artfully presented.

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Diamond H Ranch Quail

I chose the Diamond H Ranch Quail for my main course of the evening. Tender quail meat was pecan crusted and joined by a sinful vanilla date puree, hearty faro, summer squash, and topped off with a blackberry port reduction. We’ve enjoyed quail in many forms…wrapped inside a tender flaky phyllo pastry, roasted in a succulent broth, and now this version, which we devoured seemingly in minutes with smiles on our faces from the beginning visual attraction to the final bite of savory flavor conglomeration magic.

The Grill Room at The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans’ Central Business District offers an unforgettable culinary excellence. A great article and vivid photography of what exists in this abode of flavorful seduction will never be enough to express the true delight and genius of what the restaurant has to offer. Trying it for yourself…well, that’s the true magic.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Upscale and certainly worth dining in, The Grill Room at The Windsor Court Hotel will charm you with it’s Southern hospitality and spoil you with its expertly-trained staff, superb cuisine, and one-of-a-kind elegant ambiance.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Exquisite culinary talent pours out of this establishment gracing the palates of some of the most distinguished guests around. Fresh and locally sourced ingredients are proudly used in Modern American and Contemporary Southern recipes while stunning presentations are offered incorporating vivid colors, outstanding flavor combinations, and incredible aromas. The kitchen staff will happily accommodate specific meal requests with an entire vegetarian menu available upon request.
  • LOCATION: The Grill Room at The Windsor Court Hotel is located in the Central Business District at 300 Gravier Street in New Orleans, LA 70130 on the second floor of the hotel.
  • HOURS: Breakfast is served daily from 7:00 AM until 10:30 AM, while lunch is available Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM through 2:30 PM. Dinner is an amazing event, and is accessible daily from 5:30 PM through 10:00 PM. Brunch is presented Sundays from 11:00 AM until 2:30 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Our server was extremely courteous, hospitable and warm throughout our dining experience at The Grill Room. We enjoyed his helpful recommendations and appreciated the service in general amongst the entire staff.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The quality and presentation of the cuisine at The Grill Room becomes the epitome of all things divine. The pricing of the culinary delights we happily devoured paralleled the quality, flavor, and artistry of the dishes that were offered. In addition, the well-appointed dining room created an upscale, sophisticated, and relaxed fine dining environment.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $25 per 750mL bottle
  • PARKING: Valet parking is available on the first floor of The Windsor Court Hotel for your convenience.
  • PRICING: The Beef Tartare was fairly priced at $19, while the Grill Room Caesar arrived at a decent $13. My husband’s Roasted Gulf Snapper showed off its ample savory flavor at $35, and the Diamond H. Ranch Quail that I chose was $31.

The Grill Room on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

RUSSIAN DACHA CAFE… “Bringing The Dacha To North Hollywood!”

In an unsuspecting area of northern Los Angeles stands Russian Dacha Café. In Russian, “dacha” means “country home” or “villa”, which is what this establishment conveys when you enter its flagstone-and-wood-beam interior. Warm colors, rich materials, and even a small fireplace near the front of the eatery exude comfort and welcome you inside with the wafting aromas of all things delicious coming from the indoor kitchen. My husband found this place by sheer accident, however we were very happy to have discovered it as we have become regular patrons of this tucked-away establishment ever since.

Russian Dasha Cafe

Situated between two buildings, this eatery is a bit different than your usual establishment. Once through the main entrance of this quaint intimate restaurant, a large curtained space appears to be the indoor area of the establishment, when in reality, the entire dining area is outdoors. A few tables are left uncurtained near the front wall seemingly appearing to be the restaurant’s patio beneath a massive ages-old Bougainvillea tree that blooms white papery clusters of blooms during its flowering season. We usually sit there when we dine at Russian Dacha Café, marking it as our spot when we visit.

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Since our initial visit to Russian Dacha Café, it has become a habit of mine to bring a wine bag with a bottle of vino and two wine glasses, our own corkscrew, and a votive candle holder with extra back-up candles for the table outside enhancing the ambiance of our dining experience.

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Crisp Chardonnay & Fresh Baked Breads

Tables are set nicely with folded cloth napkins in the shape of fans, while corks are removed to allow patrons to start enjoying their personal wines. Dark sliced bread and traditional baguette style versions of the same are served with chilled butter in napkin-lined wicker bread baskets before entrees arrive at the table allowing diners time to converse and visit and just enjoy relaxing, as is custom in Russian gatherings.

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Stuffed Cabbage

One taste of the Stuffed Cabbage offering, and we were both sold. Since that first visit, at least one of us has ordered this entrée every single time we have patronized the eatery. Yes, it’s that good! Tender Savoy cabbage leaves are wrapped around tasty ground meat, rice, yellow onion, garlic, and paprika. The colorful display enhanced the flavors in addition, while the scent of the tomato sauce covering this item was pleasantly intriguing.

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Kebab Variety Plate

Here’s a great palate pleaser…the Kebab Variety Plate. Tender and succulent grilled chunks of chicken, beef, and pork basted with a mouthwatering marinade, then presented with a spicy sauce on the side, fresh onion, and steamed vegetables. Not only was this a delicious selection from the menu, but the presentation was visually stunning as well.

We have come to thoroughly enjoy our visits to Russian Dacha Café on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Having had that first lunch, and many dinners since that first day since then, we’ve been convinced that this hidden jewel is a delightful place to enjoy authentic Russian and Ukrainian fare at extremely reasonable prices in a quaint and comforting environment.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Warm and inviting tones throughout the establishment, stunning flowering vines on the mock front patio, and the tucked-away locale of this establishment all contribute to the charm of this eatery. Mock windows on the “indoor” walls of the main dining area, and flat screen televisions airing Russian music videos enhance the Russian-themed ambiance.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Strong traditional Russian and Ukrainian cuisine prepared with pride and served with vibrantly-colored presentation style. Flavorful sauces accompany certain dishes, and exceptionally-cooked meals will keep patrons returning.
  • LOCATION: Russian Dacha is located at 5338 Lauren Canyon Boulevard in Valley Village, CA 91607.
  • HOURS: Tuesday through Friday, the restaurant serves from 12 Noon until 10:00 PM, while Saturdays and Sundays, service is available from 12 Noon until 11:30 PM. The establishment is closed on Mondays. (Call ahead if you plan to arrive late, as the eatery may close early if business is slow).
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Tania is our regular server at Russian Dacha Café. Her service is kind, forthcoming, and genuine. We’ve gotten to know Tania over the last year, and we can attest that you will be very happy with her service if you’re seated in her serving area of the restaurant. Don’t expect the service to be quick. This is a traditional and authentic Russian/Ukrainian-style establishment that honors the customary “take-your-time-and-relax-and-enjoy” rituals. So stop in, open your bottle of chosen vino or vodka, and prepare to enjoy yourself in a non-rushed, unhurried environment. It’s definitely worth the wait!
  • PRICE / VALUE: We have found the cafe’s prices to be extremely acceptable for the authentic quality of the cuisine served, as well as the cozy and comfortable ambiance of the environment.
  • CORKAGE FEE: Not only does Russian Dacha not charge a corkage fee for any wines you bring in, but you may also bring in vodka for no charge! First time we’ve ever seen that!
  • PARKING: We recommend taking advantage of the metered street parking along the front of the restaurant as we usually do when we stop in. The restaurant’s sign announces parking behind the establishment, however there are just two spaces, and are usually already taken.
  • PRICING: On this specific visit, my husband’s Stuffed Cabbage was offered at a simple $10.99, while my Kebab Variety Plate was listed on the menu at a fair $14.99. The bottle of Cambria Chardonnay we brought in came from our personal cellar, and the restaurant did not charge a corkage fee for that. Keep in mind that an automatic 15% gratuity is added to all bills as well for your convenience.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

THE PEABODY HOTEL MEMPHIS… “Marching Ducks & Historic Southern Elegance!”

When considering southern elegance in all its splendor and sophistication, consider The Peabody Hotel Memphis in Tennessee. Situated in downtown Memphis where many of the city’s main attractions are located within walking distance from the hotel such as popular Beal Street, the Gibson Guitar Factory, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, AutoZone Park, and Sun Studio (now a museum and where the very first rock-and-roll single was reportedly recorded in 1951 and where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis conducted their first recordings) history speaks for itself throughout this establishment. Those who enjoy the glamor and delight of detailed traditional grand living and original classic decor will find comfort and luxury at this Forbes Four-Star AAA Four-Diamond 464 guest room locale. This well-maintained property was opened in 1925 and remains an institution of glamour, elegance, and opulent grandeur.

Peabody Memphis

Boasting 8,000 square feet and 14 floors of boundless charm and refinement, The Peabody Hotel Memphis has landed on the National Register of Historic Places. Noted as the “South’s Grand Hotel”, The Peabody Hotel Memphis’s extravagant and lavish four-star Italian Renaissance architecture never fails to impress. The hotel played host to many recordings of popular blues singles in its guest rooms in the late 20s and early 30s, and presents a rich history of Southern hospitality, which still continues today.

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Evenings at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis are graced by the soothing sounds of an ebony baby grand piano and the trickling of water from a statement-piece travertine marble fountain in the Grand Lobby which was amazingly cut from a single piece of the Italian stone. The grandiose surroundings delight everyone from the connoisseur of upscale luxury to the traveling visitor staying in town to take in the local sights. Intricate displays of crystal chandeliers hanging from glass-laden ceilings and carpeting styled with the property’s logo letter ‘P’ woven into the design throughout the establishment announce that you have arrived at The Peabody, while a total of seven venues offer a variety of on-site libations and decadent tastes of what the hotel’s culinary teams have to offer.

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A 1930s practical joke between friends led to a long-lived tradition of ducks inhabiting the Peabody’s lobby fountain. Five trained Mallards march along a red carpet during a twice-daily ceremony. At 11:00 AM, the ducks led by the hotel’s Duckmaster, waddle from the hotel’s Rooftop Royal Duck Palace down the elevator past a crowd of visitors  to the tune of “King Cotton March” into the marble fountain in the Grand Lobby where they visit until 5:00 PM. At that time, they are led back into the elevator upstairs and return to their rooftop home. Scores of celebrities have been honored with the title of “Honorary Duckmaster” over the years, as well as many visiting guests. The Rooftop Royal Duck Palace is just as exquisite as it sounds. The 24×12 foot $200,000 rooftop enclosure includes granite floors, ceiling fans, a fountain with bronze duck sculptures, a grassy area, as well as a viewing area for guests and visitors alike to see just how well these feathery friends live it up above the excitement and business of the city of Memphis.

INSIDER’S TIP: Take a walk upstairs to the mezzanine level overlooking the Grand Lobby during the Duck March, where the views can be enjoyed from above the crowds at both ceremonies.

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The ”Peabody Ducks” enjoy a hearty meal waterside as onlookers observe and enjoy their wading and grooming. You won’t find duck on the menu at the hotel…not even at the four-star Chez Philippe French restaurant on-site. Proper respect is given to these feathered hotel mascots. The hotel’s Lobby Bar is situated amidst the activity in the Grand Lobby, where guests can partake in the gathering of those searching for a seat amongst the crowd where cocktails and people-watching may be taken in during the popular duck marches as well.

Peabody Memphis4Speaking of Beal Street, this lively history-rich avenue of Blues and Memphis BBQ offers a plethora of opportunity to take in most of what the city has to offer. Known as the “Home of the Blues”, both evenings and days offer so much to absorb. During the day, this four-block-long wonderment hosts the Blues Café (among several other dining venues) offering local Tennessee favorites, while a stroll along Beal Street presents great viewing opportunities of golden music notes embedded in the pavement displaying some of Blues major starts such as B.B. King and others. At night, Beal Street transforms into a playground for those seeking club events, live Blues, evening dining options, and nonstop action.

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Don’t forget to take some time just walking down historic Union Avenue while visiting The Peabody Hotel. This tree-lined thoroughfare offers travelers a view of local architecture, the convenience of a neighborhood trolley system, Sun Studio Museum, shops, restaurants, elaborate horse-drawn carraiges, and also runs into the arts district along the way.

  • PROPERTY: Just one block from the trolley stop, The Peabody Hotel Memphis offers opulence and history at the same time. This luxury hotel will catapult you into the past, while enriching the present with modern conveniences in every aspect of the property.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Professional and friendly staff members offer their services while keeping Southern hospitality in mind with everything they do for their guests.
  • PET FRIENDLINESS: The Peabody Hotel Memphis is a pet-friendly property welcoming dogs and cats for a $75-per-stay fee. Food and water bowls and other pet amenities are provided for your furry friends as well. be sure you have your pet’s vet records showing their up-to-date vaccinations to present at registration as required by the hotel’s pet policy.
  • DINING OPTIONS: From The Lobby Bar to the Peabody Corner Bar offering bar bites, daily specials like Martini Mondays (four martinis for just $3 each), signature cocktails, and an intriguing 24-bottle wine dispensing system, lounging at The Peabody Hotel Memphis will have you set at ease in no time. A Rooftop Sunset Happy Hour is also offered Friday and Saturday nights (seasonal and weather-permitting) from 3:30 PM until 8:30 PM with no cover charge. In-Room Dining is available to cater to your culinary requests around the clock serving 24 hours a day in addition. Capriccio Grill offers Italian steakhouse favorites including indulgent cuts of succulent beef and outstanding pasta dishes. A buffet-style Sunday brunch at Capriccio Grill is also available From 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM. Chez Philippe is the hotel’s signature Four-Star dining room. Preparing French cuisine showing off its popular dinner presentations Wednesday through Saturday from 6:00 PM until 10 PM. Reservations for Chez Philippe may be made by calling the restaurant at (901) 529-4188. Afternoon Tea is served Wednesday through Saturday from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. Peabody Deli & Desserts provides morning coffee, continental breakfast items, refreshing salads, and desserts from the Peabody Pastry Shop, and opens at 6:00 AM.
  • LOCATION: The Peabody Hotel Memphis is located at 149 Union Avenue in Memphis, TN 38103.
  • PARKING: Valet service is available at The Peabody Hotel Memphis for your convenience.
  • RESORT AMENITIES: The Peabody Hotel Memphis offers a stunning indoor pool, a convenient fitness center, and seven dining venues among many other amenities. Be sure to visit the hotel’s website for upcoming events and activities, especially as the holiday season approaches!

*Rates and prices subject to change without notice.

LA PROVENCE RESTAURANT… “Bringing The Farm To The Dinner Table!”

Nestled off Highway 190 on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain over the elongated Causeway Bridge in Lacombe, Louisiana sits La Provence Restaurant, a French eatery owned and overseen by renowned Chef John Besh. The approach to the eatery displays a cottage-esque setting announced by a brightly-colored sign featuring the Coat of Arms of Ramon Berenguer III, a Count of Barcelona who ruled Provence until 1246. Named after the historic provence of southeastern France, this establishment will delight not only your culinary cravings for superb cuisine, but will also set you at ease in its comforting setting, welcoming ambiance, and romantic surroundings.

La Provence

The interior of the restaurant displays warm country-esque hues with a rustic feel. Relaxed and inviting, dining in any of the restaurant’ dining rooms will offer pure enlightenment from start to finish with its framed paintings of roosters (seemingly the restaurant’s mascot), a baby grand piano and French bar offering multi-country wine selections in the lounge, and antiques from Provence.

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INSIDER’S TIP: Get the full effect of this amazing dining experience by dining near a roaring fireplace, taking a tour of the property to visit the livestock and herb garden, or dining in the romantic courtyard beside a trickling water fountain and towering Oaks overhead.

After sipping on a couple of glasses of wine, manager Kerry Kelley introduced herself to us and thanked us for patronizing the restaurant. Shortly thereafter, we were given a full tour of the eatery and dining rooms as well as the grounds behind the establishment. We had no idea what lied just beyond the restaurant itself. I immediately started snapping photos of the acreage behind the eatery, which furnished the setting for free range chickens, Mangalitsa pigs and a fresh herb and vegetable gardens. The Mangalitsa pigs are a Hungarian breed that are descendants of the wild boar. Known for their thick sheep-like curly hair that covers their body, they are now known as a rare breed. Most of the culinary surprises that are offered on the menu come straight front the farm behind the restaurant, further enhancing the eatery’s farm-to-table practice.

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Fresh Herb & Vegetable Gardens, Expansive Farmland & One of the Mangalitsa Pigs On The Farm

The courtyard exists between the intimate lounge and a spacious banquet room perfect for weddings, receptions, and other large gatherings. A calming water fountain trickles off to one side of the stucco-wall-enclosed bricked space appointed with black wrought iron tables and chairs. Flourishing greenery perfects this outdoor area, while towering Oaks overhead bring the countryside in and make a fascinating addition to the patio.

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View Of the Restaurant Coutyard

INSIDER’S TIP: For you SavorHour ladies out there, take along a pair of sneakers to slip on after you arrive at the restaurant. That will make it much easier to take a tour of the grounds before your meal. You can always switch back into those five-inch heels for dinner!

We returned inside, and our server, Brandy, reappeared with a presentation of crisp French Bread crostini-like ovals of perfectly-colored French bread and a ramekin of the restaurant’s unbelievable Duck Liver Pate.

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La Provence Spectacular Duck Liver Pate

I’m a huge fan of pumpkin ravioli, so when I spotted that starter from the list of appetizing-sounding choices to begin our meal, I had to order it. The brown butter and spiced pumpkin seeds delivered unforgettable flavor to the dish, while the local Satsuma sections punched up the vibrancy of hue along with the crispy ham that made for quite intriguing photos. On top of it all, a delectable pumpkin conglomeration was stuffed inside striking squid-ink ravioli for a presentation that proved very easy on our visual perception, and extremely pleasing to our taste buds.

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Pumpkin Ravioli

Our server suggested the Roast Heirloom Beet and Smoked Shrimp Salad, and personally explained the many reasons why it was one of her favorites. We were quick to take her advice, then understood why she was so excited about this menu selection when we took the first bite of this colorful conglomeration of Sylvetta arugula, horseradish, and pickled mirliton in addition to the succulent smoked shrimp and flavorful sliced beets.

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Roast Heirloom Beet & Smoked Shrimp Salad

More wine and another ramekin of the sensational Duck Liver Pate, and we were just about as satisfied as we could be. But our dinner entrees were en route to our table, and we were eager to see what would be curing our eagerly anticipating appetites. Before arriving with our dinner selections, our server delivered hot dinner rolls to us with a ramekin of sweet cream butter that nearly melted in our mouths with each light and airy bite.

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Freshly Baked Dinner Rolls

The Crispy Gulf Drum preparation arrived as though it was an artistic painting. The ample serving of brown butter Hollandaise was placed on one side of the serving dish, while on the other side one of the most handsome fillets of breaded fish awaited our satisfaction of that first bite to be taken and enjoyed. The jumbo lump crabmeat that was piled atop this savory selection just kept the flavor coming, while the tender mushrooms that were added gave the visually appealing offering another element of appeal and sensational earthy flavor.

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Crispy Gulf Drum

And the evening just kept getting better as we went along. My entrée selection for the evening was the Mangalitsa Pork, which was prepared in traditional pork chop style, but so pleasantly different from anything we had enjoyed before. A creamy and succulent celery root puree was added, as well as beech mushrooms and perfectly roasted potatoes all in a savory smoked pork au jus. At that point, I never wanted to leave. I just longed to remain at our table and indulge in more and more throughout the remainder of the night until the sun arose the next day. Our happiness was certainly an understated pleasure.

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Mangalitsa Pork

Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying something from the sweeter side of the restaurant’s varied selection of sensational cuisine. We indulged in two of the eatery’s favorite indulgences…the Chocolate Pavlova with chocolate mousseline and salted caramel, fresh berries and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, and the Lemon Clafouti with its citrusy flavored conglomeration of blueberries and fromage blanc. Additionally, we selected a carafe of the eatery’s sinful full-bodied coffee served in a French press coffee pot to awaken us from our culinary coma that we were so delighted to be overtaken by.

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Chocolate Pavlova, Lemon Clafouti & After-Dinner Coffee

We knew to expect great things from another Chef John Besh restaurant before experiencing La Provence. The unexpected surprise of touring the restaurant’s farm-like acreage behind the eatery was an added bonus in which we were happy to partake. Such a thorough inclusion to such a fine dining experience at La Provence Restaurant. We cannot wait to return again for another succulent memorable meal together.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: We felt as though we were dining in a chic country chalet fireside on a chilly evening with all the warmth indoors we needed between the fireplaces, exceptional welcome and customer service from the staff, and calming hues throughout the eatery. The Provincial antiques, countryside decorum, and homey ambiance set us at complete ease, while the service was seamless from beginning to end.
  • FOOD / DRINK: You can’t get much fresher ingredients than what you’ll find at La Provence Restaurant. With herbs and vegetables coming straight from the gardens behind the eatery, and farm-to-table pork and eggs from free-range chickens that roam the property, you just cannot go wrong. There are also several fine wines and signature cocktails available to chose from, so don’t be shy! The kitchen can also accommodate any gluten-free or vegan diets, so just let the hostess know when you make your reservation, and they will take care of that for you.
  • LOCATION: La Provence is located at 25020 Highway 190 in Lacombe, LA 70445.
  • HOURS: Open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner at 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM, and on Sundays for Brunch from 11:00 AM through 3:00 PM, and again for dinner from 3:00 PM until 9:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Our server, Brandi, was courteous, friendly, and exceptionally knowledgeable about the restaurant and the evening’s menu. Her suggestions were spot on, and we enjoyed conversing with her at various intervals throughout our meal. We appreciated meeting manager Kerry, as well as Chef de Cuisine Erick Loos. Kerry’s professional and sincere demeanor made us feel very special and welcome, while Chef Eric’s explanation of the property, cuisine, and passion for what he does was astounding to hear, and a pleasure to know.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Without a doubt, some of the best pricing for this type of upscale French cuisine in the area (including the Crescent City!) that we’ve discovered, and certainly worth a drive over the Causeway Bridge from the city to enjoy such a fine dining experience.
  • CORKAGE FEE: We’re happy to report that there is NO CORKAGE FEE at La Provence Restaurant!
  • PARKING: Ample complimentary self-parking is available in front of and along the side of the establishment.
  • PRICING: The Pumpkin Ravioli was priced at $12, while the Heirloom Beet & Smoked Shrimp Salad came in at a fair $11. My husband’s Crispy Gulf Drum was an acceptable $29, and my selection of the Mangalitsa Pork was an approachable $32. The Lemon Clafouti and the Chocolate Pavlova desserts were both fairly priced at $8 apiece.

La Provence on UrbanspoonLa Provence Restaurant on Restaurantica

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

PROOF CANTEEN @ FOUR SEASONS RESORT SCOTTSDALE AT TROON NORTH… “Revisiting Chef Jesse’s Culinary Cross Country Road Trip-Themed Restaurant A Third Time!”

By now you’re probably convinced that Proof Canteen at the stunning Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is just the location to solve every culinary craving you could possibly conjur up. But just in case you’re wondering about that most important meal of the day, we did a little research of our own one fine morning at the resort. Instead of our usual relaxed long breakfasts lingering on our casita patio overlooking the landscaped beauty of the Sonoran desert-located property, we took a serene stroll from our room to Proof Canteen across from the resort pool area to give breakfast a whirl. Having thoroughly enjoyed the Happy Hour and Dinner offerings in the past, we felt it was time we complete the package with yet another satisfying visit to show you more of the many reasons to try it out for yourself.

Proof (Bfast)

Having read our prior articles about what Proof Canteen can dish out (see our Happy Hour review at http://savorhour.com/?p=12580 , and our dinner review at http://savorhour.com/?p=13687), you shouldn’t be surprised by more of what Chef Jesse and his crew provided us during our morning visit to the eatery. Besides such culinary splendor, the ambiance of the establishment still enchanted us with its rustic charm and creative conversation-piece ambiance with expansive, stunning views of the Sonoran environment outdoors from our perch on an upper deck umbrella-topped wooden patio table. Tempting culinary propositions enticed our appetites from the well-prepared menus that were placed before us, and we began overviewing everything Chef Jesse had available for our first meal of the day on the menu.

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We once again admired the industrial attributes of the décor indoors, the rustic, yet upscale details at each table, such as the hammered copper salt and pepper shakers, and the carefully laid out, though simplistic appearance of the place settings…relaxed casual with a heavy serving of all things American personally experienced across the country via road trip by Chef Jesse. We were anxious to try several items, as we were well-informed of the consistent quality of this fine establishment and the team of dedicated professionals behind every aspect of the nature of the restaurant. Our first indulgence delighted our senses and appealed to our visual perception, as it was placed before us atop the patio table where we sat.

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Chocolate Bacon Waffles

Who doesn’t love waffles? That’s about as American as it gets. But until you try Chef Jesse’s Chocolate Bacon Waffles at Proof Canteen, you won’t know what you’re missing. (Calling all you SavorHour chocolate lovers out there!) How brilliant is this dish! A visually striking breakfast selection, our waffle selection arrived in all its chocolaty splendor topped with candied bacon. Served with real Vermont maple syrup, it was a terrific beginning to the extraordinary feast we started to sink our teeth into.

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Market Egg White Frittata

The Market Egg White Frittata was vibrant in color and in flavor. Hickman’s Family Farms supplied the scrumptious eggs, while Chef Jesse and his team whipped up this phenomenal frittata with Black Mesa goat cheese, turkey sausage, fresh sliced tomato, asparagus, and creamy sliced avocado. Served in the same cast iron skillet it was prepared in, we caught ourselves just staring at it when it arrived due to it’s colorful enhancements and clearly pleasant display of elements. It was everything one could possibly require in terms of a protein-packed breakfast, and was an eye-appealing and appetizing exhibition of morning sustenance that was both filling and satisfying. A terrific start to any day!

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Santa Fe Lemon Ricotta Blue Corn Pancakes

Filling up quickly after the first two breakfast sensations we happily devoured, we opted for one more intriguing item from the breakfast menu…the Santa Fe Lemon Ricotta Blue Corn Pancakes (say that five times fast!) The name says it all with these hearty, gluten-free, texture-rich pancakes that were stacked high then topped with a blueberry compote and garnished with a sprinkle of Confectioner’s sugar and candied lemon zest. The blue corn and ricotta components created a more durable texture to these divine-tasting starters to our day. Served in an enormous portion, these pancakes were both visually appealing and flavorsome from beginning to end. The candied lemon zest was a pleasing enhancement, while the blueberry compote added a sweetness and more savoriness to this presentation’s already sensational components. I literally couldn’t stop snapping photos of this culinary creation. I finally has to give it a rest and switch into devour mode with my husband!

We continue to attest to the fine quality of what Chef Jesse and his staff at Proof Canteen provide their patrons with their all-day dining options. Serving breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour treats, and dinner, Four Seasons Resorts & Hotels has certainly created a long-lasting new twist on their traditional culinary options. If you still have not yet experienced Proof Canteen, we highly suggest that you do if you’re flying into town or just driving through Arizona. We can’t wait until our next visit to the resort to see what Chef Jesse and his team come up with on future seasonal menu changes. We know it will be spectacular and well worth another jaunt to the Scottsdale area.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Proof Canteen offers a relaxed and low-key refined ambiance. Industrial-esque décor, conversation-piece details throughout the restaurant, and even an old fashioned soda fountain at the bar offer unique characteristics that you will not soon forget.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Always fresh, continually innovative, and consistently inspiring dishes is what you will discover at Proof Canteen. Gluten-free items are also available, while the restaurant’s supportt of local farms and fresh ingredients locally produced enhance the already sensational cuisine.
  • LOCATION: Proof Canteen is nestled in the Four Seasons Resort at 10600 East Crescent Moon Drive in Scottsdale, AZ 85262.
  • HOURS: Proof Canteen is available for breakfast daily from 7 AM to 11:30 AM, lunch every day from 11:30 AM until 3 PM, and Happy Hour is offered in the bar and lounge area each day from 3 PM until 5:30 PM. Dinner is available from 5:30 until 9 PM Monday through Sunday. *The bar menu is available from 11 AM until 11 PM daily.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Impeccable service, smiling faces, and genuine sincerity prevails among the staff at this eatery.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Fair and acceptable pricing for the outstanding quality of the cuisine.
  • CORKAGE FEE: Unfortunately, outside alcohol is not permitted inside the restaurant. However, be sure to take a look at the menu for outstanding brews, signature hand shaken cocktails, as well as delicious wines, such as the Four Seasons’ own Iconoclast Chardonnay (and others), which we highly recommend!
  • PARKING: Valet service is available at the main entrance to the resort to assist with your vehicle while you dine.
  • PRICING: The glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice came in at $6 per glass, while the Chocolate Bacon Waffle was priced at $15. The Market Egg White Frittata was an acceptable $19, and the sensational Santa Fe Lemon Ricotta Blue Corn Pancakes arrived at $16 per order.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

SHORT ORDER RESTAURANT @ THE FARMER’S MARKET… “Casual Comfort & Artisinal Favorites!”

I adore spending hours at a time in the Farmer’s Market. The nearby Grove has also extended my days away perusing the shops and eateries there as well. However, I’ve always felt a resonance with the Market for so many years. This intricate maze of handmade crafts, local produce and exceptional cuisine venues will lead most anyone to the best butcher counter around, homemade ice cream shop, or intriguing sandwich and wine bar to suit any connoisseur’s desire for the finer things in life…as simple as those might be. We have many favorites there, but have added a new locale to our list of revered top choices. Realizing that sometimes nothing can sufficiently satisfy a wayward sustenance craving like an amazing cheeseburger, flavor-rich sandwich creation, or handcrafted milkshake, we simply had to include this intriguing location to our list of favorites to share with you. We’re not talking about a midnight run to the local burger joint, however. We’re referring to something completely different.

Short Order

We found Short Order not too long ago as we rounded a corner at the Farmer’s Market and spotted the two-story, rustic eatery after being lured there by the savory aromas that wafted from the restaurant. We were led upstairs to an open-air dining space with cozy tables and an intimate, friendly-looking bar where busy mixologists were hard at work pleasing the libation-loving patrons seated before them.

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Short Order’s well-respected reputation stems from their use of organic and locally-raised ingredients, which create the memorable artisanal flavors found in every handmade feature available on the menu. In-house butchers take advantage of Stemple Creek and Magruder Ranch components, which are then crafted into the restaurant’s flavorsome burgers, sandwiches, frozen treats, and other compilations of sensational flavor.

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Boylan’s Root Beer & The Eatery’s Menu

How about that burger craving? We recommend trying the Ida’s Old School Burger composed with grass-fed beef, house made pickles, garden-fresh tomato, sweet grilled onions, crisp Iceberg lettuce, aged Cheddar cheese, and a secret sauce that even we couldn’t convince the chef to let us in on. The succulent grass-fed beef that was used in creating this beautiful menu selection was phenomenally fresh-tasting and juicy with every bite we sampled. The Cheddar cheese that melted over the pure beef patty was accompanied by garden fresh vegetables and a soft, yet resilient bun that held all of the sandwich’s components together quite nicely. Just the mere sight of this striking compilation of flavors created a mouthwatering sensation, not to mention the crafty presentation. My husband and I shared this beautiful flavor-filled creation, then moved on to our next item of flavor fascination.

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Ida’s Old School Burger

We simply couldn’t bypass the Pork Belly BLT. Also large enough to share, this ingredient-loaded BLT was a modern spin on the traditional white bread version. Short Order stepped it up with rich and flavor-packed nearly melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, strips of applewood bacon, fresh Bibb lettuce, creamy ripe avocado, mayonnaise, and a satisfyingly sweet tomato jam sandwiched between two slices of hearty toasted Country White bread. Let’s just say that you’ll never look at a BLT the same again after experiencing the Pork Belly BLT at Short Order.

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Pork Belly BLT

You never know what you’ll find at the Farmer’s Market in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles. The next time you’re there, let the sensational flavors and aromas of Short Order fulfill your craving for delicious, good-for-you, organic fare specifically handcrafted for your culinary pleasure. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: This two-story rustic, yet industrial-touched decorum environment sets patrons at ease with more to admire than just the mouthwatering aromas wafting from the kitchen.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Chef Christian Page oversees the organic ingredients used in Short Order’s highly-accolated handcrafted elixirs from the bar, tempting frozen treats, and the eatery’s supportive nature of local farmers by incorporating locally raised and organic ingredients into everything on the menu. Gluten-free patrons can relish in a lettuce wrap in lieu of a bun on burgers and sandwiches.
  • LOCATION: Short Order is located in the Farmer’s Market at 6333 West 3rd Street in Stall #110 in Los Angeles, CA 90036.
  • HOURS: Monday through Wednesday, Short Order is open for business from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM, Thursday and Friday from 11:00 AM to Midnight, on Saturdays from 10:00 AM through Midnight, and on Sundays from 10:00 AM through 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Our server was informative and efficient, while making suggestions and answering our inquiries with a friendly demeanor.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Definitely an establishment you will be returning to, as the staff at this eatery will please your palate for fine culinary perfection, as well as offer a very welcome feel while you are there.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $20 per 750mL bottle.
  • PARKING: Parking is available near and around the spaces at the Farmer’s Market in two specific lots. Two hours of parking are free with validation from a Farmer’s Market merchant, and the third hour will run you about $4 additional. You may also park in the garage next door at The Grove, which is free or the first hour, while 2-hour parking validations are available from select Grove merchants.
  • PRICING: Our Ida’s Old School Burger came in at an easy $11, while the Pork Belly BLT arrived at an acceptable $12. The Boylan’s Root Beers were priced at $2.25 apiece.

Short Order on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

THE ROOF ON WILSHIRE @ THE HOTEL WILSHIRE… “Poolside Ambiance With A Hollywood View!”

Frequently, my husband and I steal away to The Hotel Wilshire and occupy their rooftop pool patio for cocktails and bites over elongated conversations about our day as we watch the sun set over the City of Angels. The priceless views of the Los Angeles horizon at sunset and panoramic sights across the Hollywood Hills delight our visual perception, while refreshing breezes whisper past us over the pool’s aquatic surface as we find a place near the fire pit or stay snuggled in a poolside cabana. These are just a few reasons why we enjoy visiting The Roof On Wilshire.

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Located on the rooftop of The Hotel Wilshire, Chef Eric Greenspan has created yet another spectacular dining locale. As the former Executive Chef of the highly acclaimed Patina, Chef Greenspan opened The Roof On Wilshire in 2011, and it has been going strong ever since. Crafting intriguing and savory indulgences for his patrons, Chef Greenspan realizes a good thing when he sees it, hence the location atop The Hotel Wilshire for his Roof On Wilshire culinary location.

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Panoramic Views & Poolside Relaxation

The popular Bourbon Smash cocktail is a well-demanded libation at The Roof On Wilshire. A stunning deep pink hue, this liquid indulgence is crafted with Bourbon, muddled raspberries, fresh squeezed lemon juice, sweet honey, and garnished with fresh berries. The house Chardonnay was crisp, light, and potent after a few glasses, while the view of the azure pool beside us created a romantic and relaxed ambiance.

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Bourbon Smash Cocktails & Chilled Chardonnay

The Chopped Salad is definitely one not to miss. A creative compilation of endive, celery, sweet apple, mozzarella cheese, pepperoncini, cucumber, garbanzo beans, golden raisins and charcuterie encompassed so many memorable flavors that moments of euphoria passed through my taste buds as I enjoyed this offering. Served in a large modernly-angled white porcelain serving vessel, this was most certainly a rewarding and guilt-free item to feast on.

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Chopped Salad

Most everyone has a nacho attack now and again. Even my husband and I have to surrender to this indulgence at times. We always love a new spin on them, however. We found that at The Roof On Wilshire when we ordered the Nori Nachos. Crispy rice crackers made especially for manipulating into a base for fresh, succulent tuna tartare and a spicy salmon roe. Just marvelous!

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Nori Nachos

Got a burger craving? How about a load of cheddar cheese, sweet chili and onion jam, and a steak sauce aioli to give you a load of flavor sensations? Add all of this on a grilled challah toast, and you’ve got one exceptionally phenomenal burger with a twist appropriately titled the Wilshire Burger! We ordered this rendition medium, and it arrived expertly prepared from the kitchen. The meaty-tasting prime ground beef used in this sandwich combined with the sweet and lively jam that accompanied it was marvelously ingenious, while the grilled challah toast which blanketed the interior ingredients showed off its marvelous buttery crunchiness with every bite.

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Wilshire Burger

Knowing about Chef Greenspan’s famous grilled cheese variations, we just had to try his Wilshire Grilled Cheese selection. Gooey Greuyer cheese served melted on a toasted sour dough bread joined by roasted peppers and a succulent date marmalade. Can you say heavenly!

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Wilshire Grilled Cheese

The Roof on Wilshire is the place to be for capturing in one’s memory spectacular evening sunsets across the L.A. horizon, views of the famous Hollywood Sign, and such a comforting and inviting environment that you will never want to depart this gem in the sky along Wilshire Boulevard. We certainly enjoy our visits when we stop in, and we always look forward to the exceptional service awaiting us.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The panoramic views of the Los Angeles horizon offer seductive visuals, especially at sunset. After dark, an elongated fire pit is lit and the magic of the darkened evening begins to enchant everyone present. Poolside cabanas dance in pleasant breezes that heighten every now and again across the rooftop, while the hip and urban motif of the restaurant creates comfort, romance, and a welcoming invitation to arriving patrons.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Chef Eric Greenspan has created a fantastic view-enhanced locale for all of Los Angeles to indulge in. Delicious combinations of flavor, eye-appealing presentations, and an ambiance with spectacular views, especially at sunset.
  • LOCATION: The Roof On Wilshire is located on the rooftop of The Hotel Wilshire at 6317 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA 90048 on the corner of Crescent Heights and Wilshire Boulevard.
  • HOURS: Breakfast is presented Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM until 11:00 AM, while Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Dinner options are available nightly from 6:00 PM to 11:00 AM, and a spectacular Brunch is offered from 11:00 AM through 3:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. A special Sunset Menu with reduced specialty cocktails is available Monday through Friday from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Attentive, sincere, and accommodating. If you bring your complimentary wine to the rooftop lounge, the hostess will gladly transfer your glassware to pool-safe wine vessels for your safety. But don’t worry, because the pool-safe wine glasses look and appear identical to the real thing.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Acceptable prices for the quality of the cuisine served.
  • CORKAGE FEE: $15 per 750mL bottle
  • PARKING: Nearby metered street parking is available, as well as valet service at the main entrance to the property.
  • PRICING: As guests of The Hotel Wilshire, we indulged in the Hosted Wine Hour from 5:00 PM until 6:00 PM. After conversing with a few of the staff and another couple staying in the hotel, we were whisked upwards in the building’s elevator to the rooftop escape which is The Roof On Wilshire. Atop the hotel, we surrendered to several divine items such as the Bourbon Smash during Sunset Hour, which was priced at $7 instead of the normal $14 per drink in addition to the remainder of our wines from the hotel lobby that we brought up with us. The Chopped Salad was listed at an easy $14, while the Nori Nachos were an acceptable $15. The Wilshire Grilled Cheese was priced at a fair $11. And the Wilshire Burger was offered at $14 and ordered medium.

The Roof on Wilshire on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.