REILLEY’S GRILL & BAR AND REILLEY’S NORTH END PUB… “The Lowcountry’s Answer to Beloved Boston Pubs!”

For over thirty years, Reilley’s has been catering to the locals and visitors alike on the island of Hilton Head, South Carolina and the surrounding areas. Now with two locations at either end of the island, patrons gather together for that end of the day ice cold brew, that anticipated meeting with loved ones, and for incredible meals and Happy Hour specials most every evening.

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Both establishments offer the same savory cuisine, always consistent, always fresh and flavorsome. Each houses a traditional Boston-style pub complete with two of the best places on the island to enjoy your favorite sports games, indulge in savory Irish fare and chilled cocktails, and get involved in all of the local excitement that is included in a true feel-good pub environment.

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The dim lighting inside these establishments is strikingly evocative of traditional Boston pubs with their larger than life display of friendly bartenders, sports on every big screen television imaginable, accepting blend of true locals mixed with the camaraderie of conversation with visiting tourists, and libations served up by skilled mixologsts complimented by mouthwatering and unforgettable dishes just waiting to dare you to try them and be won over by their succulent flavors and creative preparations that will create a comforting feeling you’ll never long to depart from.

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Pub Menu, Cocktails & Fresh Made Popcorn

The bar houses a variety of brews on tap and by the bottle as well as traditional cocktails to suit most anyone’s desires for something chilled and intoxicatingly refreshing. We’ve often indulged in the well-prepared martinis, signature cocktails, and selection of wines from the array of choices available to accompany some of the sensational appetizers and meals we’ve enjoyed here over the years.

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Collection of Various Favorites Off the Pub Menu

When it comes to which items to order to enjoy when visiting either of these long standing island pubs, we have a few suggestions. Starting with a popular house favorite, the Irish Potato Skins made in house with melty cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, crisp flavorful bacon crumbles, a sprinkling of decorative fresh parsley, and a side of creamy chilled sour cream are a sure winner. Or try the Buffalo Buttermilk Battered Shrimp with their crunchy goodness drowned in a zippy and zesty buffalo sauce for an added kick served with a side of cool blue cheese dressing and fresh cut chilled celery. Other loved accoutrements in the pub off of the menu are the Fresh House Spring Rolls handcrafted daily with plum sauce and pickled ginger and the Cheese Quesadilla with sour cream and house made salsa. Or the fan favorite classic Fish & Chips entrée created with Boston Cod deep fried in a beer batter presented with fries, coleslaw, and savory tartar sauce. Sometimes, there’s just nothing better.

Take a peek at the pub’s dinner menu as well for more full dinner selections from fresh seafood dishes, to hearty sandwiches and unforgettable burgers, to chicken and pasta offerings, to fine steaks and garden fresh salads worth raving about. A sure bet when seeking a gathering place to meet, mingle, and blend in with the locals anytime for great times and delicious fare far from Bostom, yet encompassing all there is to love about the traditional Boston pub in the Lowcountry.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The dim lighting and secluded environment of the pub atmosphere is well loved by locals and visitors alike. A welcoming feeling embraces all who walk through the doors of each establishment, while the casual ambiance caters to those dressed down as well as those in three-piece suits who arrive straight from the office.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Flavorsome classic pub favorites, succulent steak and pasta offerings, fresh salads and specials on specific evenings delight everyone from the beef lover to the calorie-conscious patron. A full bar at each location caters to any concoction that can possibly be desired.
  • LOCATION: Two Reilley’s locations exist on Hilton Head Island for your dining and libation enjoyment…the first, Reilley’s Grill & Bar is positioned at 7D Greenwood Drive on Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, while the second establishment, Reilley’s North End Pub, is situated on the north side of the island at 95 Matthews Boulevard on Hilton Head Island, SC 29926.
  • HOURS: Happy Hour offers some fairly decent discounted bites and sips with 1/2 off domestic bottles of beer, 1/2 off select draft brews, 1/2 off house wines, and 1/2 off well liquor drinks. Happy Hour lasts from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM, which makes us extremely happy when we can get to the pub before 5:00 PM! Normal business hours for the establishments exist Monday through Saturday from 11:30 AM until 2:00 AM, and on Sundays from 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Friendly and efficient mixologists and servers allow patrons to enjoy their visit while feeling catered to at any given moment. The staff excels in everything they do at both locations, as we have continually witnessed when we visit when sojourning through the Lowcountry.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Terrific Happy Hour deals, and reasonable full menu dining options as well. Something for everyone with specials throughout the week. Mondays feature Lobster Night, Tuesdays kids eat free, Wednesday & Saturdays offer Prime Rib Night, while a Sunday Brunch features complimentary Champagne & Mimosas.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • CONTACT INFO: Phone: (843) 842-4414 (Reilley’s Grill & Bar on the south end of the island) and (843) 681-4153 (Reilley’s North End Pub), Website: reilleyshiltonhead.com.
  • PARKING: There is ample complimentary private lot parking at both Reilley’s locations on the island.
  • PRICING: When we’ve stopped by during Happy Hour, the Irish Potato Skins arrived at a simple $6.99, while the Buffalo Buttermilk Battered Shrimp selection came in at a worthwhile $8.99. The Chef’s Special House Made Spring Rolls were offered at $7.99, with the Cheese Quesadilla being priced at $4.95. Our Fish & Chips entrée finished off our culinary snacking at an acceptable $15.99.

*Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

 

JARAGUA RESTAURANT… “True Salvadoran Cuisine In the Heart of Los Angeles!”

The adobe veneer of this popular Salvadoran establishment welcomed us inside to a friendly staff waiting to serve our requests for savory and unforgettable Salvadoran cuisine. Located in the busy goings on of Los Angeles and situated along Beverly Boulevard, this was a true gem that we had not come across before hearing about it from friends over coffee recently. We headed over for a bite before enjoying a play in the area with our appetites ready to experience something amazing.

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The Sherbert-hued entrance was defined by the restaurant’s logo prominently displayed on both a posted sign as well as on the building itself. The interior of the eatery offered a spacious dining room filled with casually-set tables for catering to the lone diner or the family of ten. Views through large windows allowed for observation of passers-by on the boulevard, while the modest and casual ambiance had us intrigued about what we would experience while here.

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Salvadoran Signature Cocktails 

The cocktail menu offers selections house made from a tucked away intimate velvet-curtained lounge called the Copper Still to the back of the dining space. Though noticeable with a quick glance around the room, the tiny bar plays host to some pretty creative cocktails by a well-adored mixologist behind the counter. Both flavorsome as well as refreshing, and served in large drinking vessels, we were pleased with our orders and prepared to move on to ordering a Salvadoran feast for our palates.

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Pollo Encebollada

The Pollo Encebollada was an impressive display of tender grilled chicken that literally fell apart when touched with a utensil due to its incredible tenderness. Marinated then sautéed in the restaurant’s own tantalizing conglomeration of juices and broths, thick-cut white onions grilled to a sweet perfection, robust tomatoes bursting with fresh flavor, and vibrantly-colored green peppers are added to this dish creating a sight to behold and a conclusion of heartiness to the presentation.

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Side Salad, Pupusas & Frijoles

A side salad accompanied our selection of the Pollo Encebollada, while tender warm pupusas (Salvadoran tortillas made from fresh rice or corn massa and El Salvador’s national dish) melded nicely with the serving of frijoles ordered to complete a full exploration of flavor.

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Pan Con Pavo

The Pan Con Pavo is my new favorite sandwich in the existence of life as we know it. El Salvador’s famous turkey sandwich, this conglomeration of flavor upon flavor sensation, varietal textures from the tender turkey to the flowing taste bud tantalizing broth to the tender sandwich bread that despite it’s getting a tad soggy on the bottom from the delectable broth it sits in, would turn heads if only others knew how delicious it is, to the sensational mouthwatering aroma of all things delicious packed inside this generous offering of Salvadoran goodness. Just an amazing, indulgent, near perfect sandwich sure to put you under its spell of flavor-filled intoxication.

Our visit to Jaragua proved worthwhile. So much so that we continually revisit this unassuming family-friendly spacious and gracious dining establishment probably more often than we should. Nevertheless, a sure winner on the SavorHour.com list of delightful casual locales worth the drive, worth the splurge, and worth every single taste of extraordinary goodness.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The exterior of the eatery exudes friendly and welcoming vibes with its sherbert-hued pueblo-style facade. Inside, spacious dining and friendly and accommodating staff ensure pleasant culinary experiences from start to finish.
  • FOOD / DRINK: The fresh and savory flavors and combinations of all things delicious and mouthwatering will keep you returning to Jaragua, while signature and classic cocktails will keep you guessing.
  • LOCATION: Jaragua is situated at 4493 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA 90004.
  • HOURS: The establishment’s business hours exist Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The staff is friendly, hospitable, and happy to suggest dishes to wow your taste buds.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The price point here is worth the experience. After enjoying our meal here, we were convinced that the quality of the cuisine, spacious dining room, and helpful staff offered an exceptional value for the money.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • CONTACT INFO: Phone: (323) 661-1985, Website: www.jaraguarestaurant.com
  • PARKING: The parking areas lie behind the restaurant in a private lot as well as along the streets at metered parking spaces surrounding the restaurant.
  • PRICING: The array of delicious cuisine awed us and left us both satisfied with the cuisine as well as the pricing. We ate very well for two people for under $50, and we were happy to get a spectacular Salvadoran meal with all the trimmings including alcohol.

* Menu and pricing subject to change without notice.

MALIBU CREEK STATE PARK… “Finding the Naturalist In Ourselves!”

There’s something intriguing about what one discovers when taking a walk through nature along creek side trails. Something freeing. Something that brings us to a place of peace, of calm, of inner happiness. Maybe it’s the oneness with the environment and the earth, or the refreshing feeling of a cool breeze against our face that renews our soul, or even the quiet solace we come upon that allows us, even if just for a few moments, to realign our focus of our path in life. Whichever of those it is, there’s a distinct location that heightens those experiences for us. Malibu Creek State Park has long been a place of untangling days that didn’t quite go our way at times, of bringing us closer to an understanding of ourselves as human beings in a world filled with stresses and disappointments, and a sanctuary of sorts that never fails to help us get back on track to realizing that sometimes the simplest things in life can be some of the best. It was time we wrote about this stunningly beautiful locale of natural beauty, so it heads up as our first article in our recently added “Beautiful Places” category at SavorHour.com.

Malibu Creek State Park

Open from dawn until dusk, Malibu Creek State Park offers a relaxing and memorable experience for the nature hiker as well as the more seasoned camper or outdoorsman. Formerly owned by 20th Century Fox Studios, the beautiful terrain was used in outdoor filming locations for movies and television shows over the years. We frequent this natural stunner often and appreciate its natural beauty it offers year round to it’s visitors. Seven thousand acres within the Santa Monica Mountains provide ample space for outdoor activities such as hiking, nature walks, fishing, horseback riding opportunities, rock climbing, mountain biking, bird watching, picnicing, and even special campfire programs. We’ve always enjoyed trekking from the parking area to the  rock pool at the conclusion of the three and a half mile round trip journey that parallels the soothing intonations of an at times lively creek. Above, you can see how the creek cuts directly across a popular path at will, blocking access across it’s shallow, yet swiftly moving waters.

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As a favorite filming location for some of the industry’s best loved entertainment series and films, Malibu Creek State Park has hosted the filming of several popular productions such as M*A*S*H, Swiss Family Robinson, Pleasantville, Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House, Daniel Boone, Planet of the Apes, and a few Tarzan productions just to name a few. The park provides beautiful scenery from its meandering trails, lush rolling hills, rushing creek waters for miles, and a variety of bird species sure to delight the nature observer to no end. Towering oaks line areas of the trail leading to the rock pool, which provide shade along the path as one makes their way closer to the rocky conclusion of the volcanic swimming destination after a well enjoyed walk, pleasant run, or relaxing stroll as the sights of expansive vistas and mountainous peaks along the creek are happily taken in.

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There’s something about the sound of water that I’ve always loved. The sound of the wind against treetops rustling leaves in accordance with the directional flow of the breezes that come and go often remind me of the sound of the ocean with it’s ebb and flow of waves being washed upon the shore. Another soothing and appreciated sound of water we adore is that of the gentle rushing waters of a river or creek along its intended and sometimes unintentional path, such as what we experience at Malibu Creek State Park. From the calm flowing currents to the more lively rushing gentle rapids, there’s not much more one could ask for here. In the photos above, a duck seeks refuge atop a protruding rock from the moving waters of the creek, and the rushing waters calm eventually and almost immediately change over to a sheet of liquid glass as they slow again and calm as they continue their flow onward. We can understand why the Chumash Indians settled here so many centuries ago.

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We find beauty in most everything here. Even the eye-catching artwork of what nature has done with the indigenous Sycamore trees that line the banks of the creek in one area. Just the height and immense stature of these natural works of art create noticeable landmarks throughout the park. The bark appears to have been painted on by Mother Nature herself in strokes of grey, and muted whites, and tans, while these products of the earth stand proudly watching over the creek and those who pass by their impressive presence. Don’t miss the redwood trees that were planted around Century Lake years ago while you’re on the property. And you may just catch a glimpse of the park’s natural inhabitants such as deer, foxes, rabbits, ducks, a variety of bird species, and even a bobcat or two.

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At the end of the nearly 2-mile voyage comes the reward for all of that hard work walking, jogging, or strolling along and observing everything beautiful en route to this final destination. A magnificent rock pool at the conclusion of the trail was crafted by volcanic rock and forms a sizable gorge where we’ve witnessed many visitors swimming in the refreshing waters of the natural pool. A picturesque filming location as well, part of the Planet of the Apes included the rock wall that surrounds the pool. A beautiful view, and a worthy find, this rocky terrain will offer solace and satisfaction to the unsuspecting hiker, and intrigue and challenge to the novice, but will always provide a memorable visit to Malibu Creek State Park.

Take some time from your busy schedule to take in the natural picturesque views of Malibu Creek State Park. Established in 1974, and opened to the public in 1976, the property has been a favorite of visitors for over 30 years, and will continue to fascinate all who visit with its expansive collection of all things beautiful, natural, and interesting.

  • LOCATION: Malibu Creek State Park is located within the terrain of the Santa Monica Mountains covering nearly 7,000 acres of natural beauty at 1925 Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas, CA 91302. Just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles, this is surely a drive worth taking to experience nature at its finest.
  • HOURS: The park is available to the public from dawn until dusk.
  • PARKING:A fee of $12 per vehicle is used to support the park. A helpful resource for finding your way around the property if you’re not familiar with it is the purchase of a trail map for an easy $1 you can obtain at the park’s entrance.
  • PET FRIENDLINESS: Your canine friends will appreciate being taken to Malibu Creek State Park. Keep in mind, however, dogs are only allowed in the parking lot and campground. They are not permitted on the trails.

* Prices subject to change without notice.

GUADALAJARA… “Downtown Houston’s Answer to Authentic Tex-Mex Cuisine!”

When visiting downtown Houston, make a point to stop in at Guadalajara Del Centro in the city’s Central Business District. Amidst the intricate web of pedestrian tunnels and skywalks interconnecting the city from one building to the next, there is a locale for those seeking authentic Tex-Mex cuisine in a relaxed, casual setting. Guadalajara Del Centro serves up some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine we’ve enjoyed in some time, and we were quite pleased that we elected to experience this locals’ favorite lunchtime locale.

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An easy walk from nearby hotels and convenient shopping locations, Guadalajara Del Centro sits among a plethora of activities that make up part of what downtown Houston has to offer. At first approach, you’ll know you’ve arrived at this culinary hacienda by the friendly hostess at the front entry and the splendid hues of bright colors that welcome you inside with their inviting arms of a multitude of pigments sure to delight any patron.

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With a vast array of choices for seating inside from stand-alone tables to comfortable booths with satisfying views of the city streets through huge windows overlooking the comings and goings of passers-by, the interior of the restaurant greets its visitors with pleasant and comforting surroundings that make any meal an enjoyable one.

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House Made Tortilla Chips, Handmade Salsa & Margaritas

Complimentary house made tortilla chips and fresh handmade salsa will satisfy your cravings for something savory and tasty while you peruse the extensive menus that are placed before you as you are seated by a gracious server. We took advantage of the Happy Hour drink specials and ordered a couple of the eatery’s House Margaritas and those pacified us along with the chips and salsa until our order of Guacamole “MTO” arrived.

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GUACAMOLE “MTO”

The “MTO” stands for “Made To Order”, and the guacamole at this Tex-Mex culinary smorgasbord of divine offerings served up their version of this creamy and fresh appetizer favorite in a snap. Consisting of ripe avocadoes, vine-ripe tomatoes, zesty onion, cilantro, house seasonings and fresh-squeezed lime, this guacamole starter is the perfect palate pleaser to begin your culinary enjoyment of a meal at this location.

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Del Centro Chopped Chicken Salad

How does a mixture of chopped crunchy bacon, creamy chilled avocado, crisp tortilla strips, chopped tomato, sweet roasted corn, and chopped lettuces topped with queso fresco sound for a lunchtime treat? How about adding a pile of chopped grilled chicken and a side of your favorite dressing? The Del Centro Chopped Chicken Salad will deliver all of this, plus offer an option of selecting grilled fajita steak or shrimp in lieu of the grilled chicken. Our choice of the chicken suited our taste perfectly. Lean tender and flavorsome chunks of white meat chicken combined with the crunch of fresh greens, onion, sweet roasted corn and crunchy tortilla strips drizzled with creamy cilantro and mango-lime dressings topped it off nicely.

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Enchiladas Guadalajara

The Enchiladas Guadalajara provided healthy spinach and grilled shredded chicken wrapped in blankets of tender tortillas with a roasted corn sauce and white cheeses. Served with Mexican rice and refried beans, which sated my remaining cravings for all things Tex-Mex during our lunchtime feast, I couldn’t have been more in awe from the culmination of flavors that I experienced by indulging in this house special. I could literally consume this entrée multiple times a week and never tire of its incredible and mouthwatering texture and sapidity.

Based in one of the country’s largest meccas of business and corporation-based city’s with so much to take part in from shopping to outdoor activities, to fine dining and upscale lodging choices while in town, make Guadalajara Del Centro one of your stops while in downtown Houston for authentic, memorable, and unforgettable Tex-Mex cuisine happiness.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Celebrating the fiesta that is Tex-Mex cuisine, the interior hues and décor of this eatery provide vibrant bursts of vivid greens, sharp blues, cheerful yellows, and complimentary neon lighting throughout the restaurant in addition. Warm light woodwork serves as a calming backdrop to the lively tones, while modern styled lighting fixtures and lush greenery bordering an upstairs loft-like dining area offer more intriguing visual detail.
  • FOOD / DRINK: From Skinny Girl cocktail selection for the calorie-conscious libation lover to the fan of the original “house” margarita, there is something for everyone with a full bar and plethora of cocktail items on the menu to choose from. Tie a few flavorsome drinks in with a phenomenal meal at Guadalajara Del Centro from the selection of Tex-Mex fare favorites, and you’ll find yourself returning to experience more of what this upscale casual establishment has to offer its patrons.
  • LOCATION: Guadalajara Del Centro is located in Houston’s downtown arena of activity at 1201 San Jacinto Street, Suite 141 in Houston, TX 77002.
  • HOURS: Serving lunch and dinner, this restaurant is available Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM, and on Sundays from 12:00 noon through 9:00 PM. We enjoyed the fact that lunch was served until 4:00 PM!
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Our server was punctual, professional, friendly, and thoroughly knew the menu and specials of the day. Her timing of items being delivered to us from the kitchen was perfectly presented, and our questions about the location and the cuisine were answered confidently and without hesitation.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Considering the ambiance, upscale location, popularity of this eatery and fine Tex-Mex cuisine offered, the higher prices than most ordinary establishments serving similar cuisine was still appreciated, For a few dollars more per item ordered, we gladly forked over a bit more money to be enveloped in such a beautiful and festive locale close to all of the activities of downtown Houston.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • PARKING: Ample parking is available through the use of city parking garages, as well as some street parking. This location is easily accessible from some hotels located nearby as well.
  • PRICING: We received complimentary house made tortilla chips with a refreshing and not-too-spicy handmade salsa to start things off. With the chips and salsa, we ordered two of the House Margaritas at just $5 per order (during Happy Hour) and began sipping our chilled libations to a blissful second round. We chose the Guacamole “MTO” (Made To Order) appetizer to start our elongated leisurely lunch on this particular visit for an easy $11, while our second round of House Margaritas began disappearing. Ready for more deliciousness from the kitchen at that point, orders of the Chopped Chicken Salad entrée and Spinach Chicken Enchilada entrée arrives at $13 each with an addition of sour cream on the side for an added $2. A third round of margaritas accompanied our main entrees, which finished us off with no room for dessert after such a filling, yet flavor-packed and satisfying meal.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

CAFE DU MONDE… “The Crescent City’s 24-Hour Meeting Place!”

One of our most revered coffeehouses in the Big Easy is the ever famous Cafe Du Monde on Decatur Street. This casual, come-as-you-are establishment has been serving their popular powdered sugar topped beignets and world famous cafe au lait for decades now, and has no reason to visualize that slowing down anytime soon. The circa 1862 venue started by the Fernandez family now seats up to 400 patrons, offering an expansive covered patio complete with overhead ceiling fans as well as a more intimate action-packed indoor seating area where visitors can get a glimpse of the excitement closer to the kitchen and stainless steel service counter. We’ve patronized both spaces, which offer up-close-and-personal views of people coming and going in and out through the city, the occasional gathering of city pigeons hoping to snag a morsel of leftover beignet that has fallen off of a table, as well as phenomenal world-class hot beignets and savory New Orleans cafe au lait.

Cafe du Monde

Located within the New Orleans French Market, Cafe Du Monde has perfected the sugary treat of the ever classic beignet, a French pastry which was first brought to Louisiana through the Acadian culture. A simple menu of the basics…beignets, coffee, cafe au lait, orange juice and white and chocolate milk have stood the test of time and make the ordering process that much more simple. Ask any local or seasoned Crescent City traveler how to order at Cafe Du Monde, and most will explain that when at this tradition-laden cafe, all you need to remember is “beignets and cafe au lait” as you approach the order window.

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Café Au Lait & Hot Beignets Covered In Powdered Sugar

Though the shape and method of preparation has changed slightly over the years, the flavor, texture, and light-as-air end result of Cafe Du Monde’s beignets couldn’t be better than what this coffee merchant is proud to be known so well for. Prepare to get powdered! Because that’s what novice beignet consumers won’t be prepared for. Unless you’re a veteran sugar-covered beignet connoisseur and know those little tricks for NOT leaving half of the powdered sugar on yourself rather than on your beignets! But then again, that’s just a part of the experience. Served three to an order, these heavenly square pillows of melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness will find their way into your life somehow, someway. Wash those beignets down with a mug of the cafe’s popular cafe au lait, (French for coffee mixed with hot milk), and you’ve really got yourself something special. The coffee at Cafe Du Monde is chicory based, which provides a subtle almost chocolate essence and boldness to this much enjoyed beverage of choice. It also takes the edge off of the pure coffee taste.

INSIDER’S TIP: This coffeehouse is a “cash-only” venue, so don’t forget to take some along with you before you head out to the cafe so you can enjoy all that it has to offer.

Most people are intrigued when they realize that chicory is actually the root of the endive plant, which is roasted and then ground to be added to the coffee. Pretty interesting trivia there. As many times as we’ve visited the city and Cafe Du Monde over the years during our travels, that’s one fact we weren’t aware of until our most recent visit when we chatted up a storm with our server. Oh…that’s another point of interest…the service. Every server has a story…or two…or three to share if you ask them. We’ve never left the place without learning some new tidbit about the city, or about about the coffeehouse, or about how they wound up working there. It’s always proven interesting to us.

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There is so much to see and do and partake in within the city of New Orleans. From Jackson Square, named after Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson, to the Louisiana architecture, to the city’s annual Mardi Gras festivities, to the mighty Mississippi River and the plethora of antique shops, art galleries, and fine Southern cuisine. Whatever your interest, there will be something awaiting you in this city of never-ending entertainment and intrigue.

Consider stopping in at Café Du Monde on your next trip to New Orleans. Anytime of the day or night is the perfect time to enjoy some of the city’s best-loved coffee and sugary-topped treats while you’re in town. The establishment and the location it exists in is rich in history, packed to the brim in layer upon layer of culture, and offers Louisiana hospitality and tradition not to be missed.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Simple and spacious, the traditional green-and-white striped awning surrounding the eatery’s outdoor covered patio signals passers-by to its French Market location.
  • FOOD / DRINK: With all of the surrounding restaurants in the French Market, Cafe Du Monde sits proudly amongst them all serving their famous coffee and beignets to the masses of patrons that ebb and flow through the cafe around the clock.
  • LOCATION: Cafe Du Monde is located in the historic French Market at 800 Decatur Street in New Orleans, LA 70116.
  • HOURS: The coffeehouse is available for service 24 hours a day except for Christmas Day when it closes its doors from 6:00 PM until 6:00 AM on December 26th. Torrential weather factors may also be reason to close on occasion.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: A terrific place for those who enjoy people watching activities and a friendly and courteous staff offering loads of southern hospitality. Filled with pleasant conversation, the servers are ready to intrigue their customers with their wit and knowledge of the eatery and the city it is housed within.
  • PRICE / VALUE: A fair value for some of the best beignets you’ll ever enjoy sinking your teeth into. The coffee will change your perception of the typical cup of morning joe!
  • CORKAGE FEE: This establishment is all about coffee and beignets! See our other articles for great eateries and their related corkage charges.
  • PARKING: Street parking is available nearby, as well as private lots throughout the city. We usually stroll from our hotel to nearby shops, then end up at the cafe. Another idea is to have your hotel’s house car drop you at Cafe Du Monde first, then you can enjoy making your way back to your hotel from there walking through the city, and perusing the sites, shopping venues, and galleries.
  • PRICING: At just $2.42 each for the two orders of beignets we chose, and a simple $3.97 per cup of cafe au lait for each of us, we had a lovely time for under $13.00! (Of course, we’re not including the souvenir mugs and other items we purchased to take home with us!)

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

THE WINE CELLAR TASTING ROOM @ THE RIO CASINO.. “Hidden Seclusion With Unparalleled Intrigue!”

Amongst the boisterous ringing of bells and flashing of lights from this slot machine laden playground, customers chatting and wondering why they didn’t get that last “7″ or that “21″ or that “Royal Flush”, and the ingress and egress of staff coming and going as shifts change, there does exists a secluded and intimate space for those seeking refuge from all of the noise and chaos and even headache-causing anxieties of losing that last hundred in your pocket. Those consumers of all things wrapped beautifully in solace and prestige and worthiness. Behold, the Wine Cellar & Tasting Room within the Rio Casino in Sin City.

The Wine Cellar

When visiting the energy-filled city of Las Vegas, we always make time to journey off the south end of the strip to the unique and tucked-away location that has become one of our favorite places to get away from the loudness and at times craziness of this twenty-four-hour city. Located through an entrance inside the casino’s Masquerade Lounge, you’re not far away from your destination. Submerging oneself lower and lower into this virtual wine cave via a stunning wrought iron spiral staircase as it descends into a massive cellar made specifically for the pleasure of visiting wine connoisseurs and experimental tasters alike. We enjoy visiting the Wine Cellar Tasting Room before going out to dinner when we’re in town. Sort of a relaxing and intimate preempt to a fabulous meal in this city that prides itself on cuisines from all over the world from some of the best chefs across the globe.

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Relax in comfort and luxury on soft enveloping leather sofas and chairs strategically positioned in intimate locations, while a seat at the tasting bar allows for informative and friendly conversation with one of the sommeliers on staff at any given time. Private gatherings, reserved wine tastings for large parties, and wine dinners can be enjoyed in one of the cellar’s beautiful cellar rooms made available for those occasions as well.

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Wine Cellar Menu & Charcuterie

The cellar stewards informed us that the space features over 50,000 bottles valued at over ten million dollars…some even once owned by Thomas Jefferson himself. With over 100 wines by the glass, there truly is something here for everyone. We indulged in one of the food and wine pairings on our most recent trip to this rustic stone surround with mesmerizing archways. A perfect addition to starting any evening at the Wine Cellar.

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Champagne Flights

The array of Champagnes available for tasting (and consuming) is varied and offers an expansive selection to choose from. Enjoy a charcuterie plate made to order at the tasting bar for added enjoyment and nourishment while you sip your way to the start of an amazing evening. See the Wine Cellar’s menu for the collection of cheese plates, as well as fresh baked breads to aide in your enjoyment of your selected vintages.

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Wine Flights For Everyone

The offering of an expansive selection of wines always catches our eye. We’ve gone through flavorful Pinot stages, crisp buttery Chardonnay stages, bubbly Champagne phases, and custom-selected mixed tastings as well. We’ve also just sat at the tasting bar, ordered a bottle from the cellar, and occupied one of the velvety soft leather couches for hours as we enjoyed our selection with a few of the cellar’s tasty bites that not only enhanced the wine’s flavor, but posed as a prelude to our evening out in the city.

The Wine Cellar Tasting Room invites curious casino-goers, wine connoisseurs, as well as the novice who enjoys a great glass of wine or Champagne. Tucked away inside the Rio Casino & Resort, the trek from the strip is well worth the sojourn to experience the fascinating and romantic existence that is the Wine Cellar.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Neutral colored stone walls and archways welcome customers inside once descending from the two-story spiral staircase off the casino floor. Step out of the casino space and into somewhere else completely different. Comforting leather furniture and eclectic décor enhance the ambience even further.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Sensational flavors from charcuterie plates, fresh baked breads, and not to mention the plethora of fruity, buttery, and bubbly libations will leave you contemplating why you never heard of this place before.
  • LOCATION: The Wine Cellar Tasting Room is located within the Masquerade Lounge inside the Rio Casino & Resort at 3700 West Flamingo Road in Las Vegas, NV 89103.
  • HOURS: The Wine Cellar Tasting Room is available for service Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM, on Fridays and Saturdays from 3:00 PM until 11:00 PM, and on Sundays from 3:00 PM until 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The well-informed staff of sommeliers and wine stewards will awe you with their knowledge and we’ll-informed know-how behind the tasting bar. Kind and conversational with terrific personal stories to entice their guests, you won’t leave without some interesting tidbit of information about a celebrity visit, a new vintage being harvested, or a happening in the ity itself.
  • PRICE / VALUE: You’re in Vegas, so expect things to be a bit higher priced than other locales. But for what was offered to us in relation to what the items of indulgence we’re priced on the menu, we had no qualms about anything.
  • CORKAGE FEE: Forget about bringing your own bottle in here. Just go and enjoy being catered to and see why we love this place so much.
  • PARKING: There is spacious complimentary parking available as well as valet service at the main entrances of the casino.
  • PRICING: The pricing of different flights includes an expansive range from one vintage and label to the next. Throw in a few bites with those at their own array of prices and inclusions, and your total bill could be average or exit any depending on what you select. Any way you go, you will enjoy the experience of patronizing the Wine Cellar Tasting Room.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

MISTRAL RESTAURANT… “Classic French Dining Not To Be Missed!”

True traditional French cuisine outside of France itself can sometimes be difficult to find. Some establishments give it a good try, and almost arrive at a “close-to” rendition. However, Mistral restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA parallels the perfection of fine French flavors in an elegant bistro-like setting amidst Ventura Boulevard’s bustling setting. Since 1988, Mistral has been enchanting its patrons with its phenomenal French cuisine, intimate and romantic ambience, and stellar service. As one of our favorite establishments in the San Fernando Valley, we felt we had to include a review of this unique and consistent dining institution for our SavorHour.com readers to enjoy.

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Elegant surroundings captivate patrons at every turn from the stunning chandeliers overhead to the crisp white table linens to the five-star wait staff service. Dark woodwork casts a richness throughout he eatery while colorful fresh floral arrangements provide vibrant hues and added subtle fragrance at tables as patrons dine. Fine artwork impresses, while a stylish 1920s full bar with all the class one could imagine exists to delight guests craving a hand crafted adult libation and conversation with a seasoned mixologist.

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 Country Breads & Crisp Chardonnay

The house made thick-cut country bread served before meals is reason alone to visit this popular establishment. Pair that with a few glasses of chilled Chardonnay selected personally by Henri and you’re sure to have an enjoyable start to any meal at Mistral Restaurant. Mistral offers an extensive wine list which provides something for everyone’s taste. Though outside bottles are allowed, we’ve never found a need to bring our own with Henri’s fine cellar selections.

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Fried Calamari & Marinara Sauce

The Fried Calamari at Mistral is one to savor over and over again. If you love calamari, you simply must experience it at this fine eatery. A heaping lightly seasoned plate of these fried rings of heavenly flavor sedate even the hungriest of patrons, while the house made sensational mouthwatering marinara sauce makes for the perfect addition to these expertly prepared orbs of deliciousness. A squeeze of fresh lemon creates a flavorsome finish to each forkful. In the many years we’ve been dining at Mistral, we haven’t been able to order just one of these starters when we’ve visited the restaurant yet. Usually, we wind up taking one of our entrees home with us because we’ve eaten so much of the calamari! It’s just that extraordinary!

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Sand Dabs

The city’s number one preparation of Sand Dabs is served at Mistral in our opinion. There are a number of competing establishments in the area that get pretty close to the quality, consistency, and presentation of Mistral’s Sand Dabs entrée, but none have ever met or surpassed the savory flavors of crisped tender sand dabs covered in a succulent lemon butter sauce filled with pungent capers, fresh herbs, and flavor beyond belief. Henri knows a thing or two about a terrific sand dab preparation, which is always consistent and proudly presented. These are a seasonal treat, so if Henri’s sand dab entrée is on the menu, don’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in these highly recommended gifts of the sea.

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Cappellini With Basil and Tomatoes

The Cappellini With Basil and Tomatoes also offers a generous portion fresh of garlic and basil as well. All the ingredients merge to create a comforting and memorable flavor-packed meal. Served amply, this entrée could almost be enjoyed by two diners, as it is a very large portion. The fresh chopped tomatoes burst with flavor, and the garlic and basil compliment the entire dish nicely. Paired with a beautiful glass of wine, this is the ultimate in pasta presentations no matter what the temperature is outside.

Fine French fare is waiting for you at Mistral. Allow Henri and his expertly-poised staff to sufficiently cater to your culinary requirements, the ambience take you somewhere else, and the fine meals available deliver you to a place of contentment and satisfaction.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The classic wooden bar makes for an excellent conversation piece over cocktails before a meal, while the fine art on the walls, graceful chandeliers hanging overhead, and bistro-like upscale setting will embrace you with their inviting reach.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Our long-standing traditional favorites at Mistral include many items on the menu. However, some of our long-time most loved dishes include the Fried Calamari starter, selection of Chardonnay wines, the Sand Dabs entrée, and the Cappellini presentations with all things fresh and flavorsome.
  • LOCATION: Mistral is located at 13422 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
  • HOURS: Serving lunch and dinner, the restaurant is available Monday through Friday for lunch from 11:30 AM until 2:30 PM, and again for dinner from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM. Saturdays provide patronizing from 5:30 PM until 10:00 PM, while on Sundays, customers may enjoy dining from 5:00 PM until 9:30 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Executive Chef and owner, Henri Abergel has been taking great care of us for years. His pride in the ownership and oversight of his popular eatery shows just how strong his love of the restaurant business truly is.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The prices reflect the quality at Mistral. Excellence, savory cuisine, attention to details by the staff, a romantic and elegant setting…expect to be impressed.
  • CORKAGE FEE: The eatery charges a $20 corkage fee per 750mL bottle.
  • PARKING: The restaurant provides valet parking as well as metered street parking in front of the establishment.
  • PRICING: The four glasses of wine we enjoyed were $17 each, while the expertly prepared Calamari arrived at $14.50. The Sand Dabs entrée was priced at $18.00, and the perfectly simple, yet certainly savory and delicious Cappellini was an easy $18.50.

Mistral  Restaurant Reviews

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

PRIME RESTAURANT… “Atlanta’s Dual-Concept Success!”

In the prestigious neighborhood of Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia’s bustling city lifestyle, there’s a restaurant we frequent quite a bit when visiting the area. The locale is situated on the second floor of the upscale Lenox Square Mall. Yes, inside a mall. We’re not big into “mall dining”, but this sophisticated culinary anomaly quickly changed our minds when a long day of shopping led us to cure our cravings for all things savory and palatable. Having opened its doors in 1996, Prime Restaurant has been satisfying patrons’ hunger pangs and culinary requests without fail. Overseen by internationally renowned Chef Dan Garner, the eatery has prevailed exceptionally well in its now almost 19th year of business. One of the city’s forerunners in the restaurant circle to have a successful steakhouse-sushi theme, Prime Restaurant has also recently earned Gayot’s “Top 10 Atlanta Steakhouse Restaurants” award in addition to their “2014 Best Atlanta Steak Restaurant” acclamation. Both well-deserved by Chef Garner’s sublime American, Japanese, and seafood creations all served in a swanky and contemporary ambience.

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The light woodwork in the sushi lounge contrasted by dark granite atop the bar offers a warm and inviting effect overall, while friendly and efficient servers cater to your needs and culinary desires. Cobalt blue travels from pendant lighting over the bar to the main dining room’s water goblets donning flashes of eye-popping color. White tablecloths and an inpouring of natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows in the main dining room offer a chic motif and a comforting dining space to be enjoyed by all.

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Prime Special Rolls & Dancing Eel Rolls

When that craving for creative handcrafted edible excellence arrives, try a few of Prime’s fresh creations in the sushi lounge. We have two all-time favorites here. First, the Prime Special Roll, which is crafted with succulent snow crab, creamy chilled avocado, crisp cucumber, barbecued eel, and tender smoked salmon all rolled up into a beautiful and flavorful presentation before you. Add a couple of Dancing Eel Rolls to the order with perfect pairings of snow crab, avocado, eel and teriyaki sauce, and you’ve got two sensational creations to enjoy with each phenomenal bite.

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Slow Roasted Prestige Farms Chicken, Tuna Tataki & Cappuchino

Consider two more of our favorites from Prime Restaurant’s flavor-packed menu selections. A simple, yet classic favorite of many who patronize this establishment is the Slow Roasted Prestige Farms Chicken entree. Mouthwatering and fork tender chicken is lovingly roasted then placed upon a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes with sautéed haricot verts then is finished off with a succulent veal jus. Things keep getting better with the Tuna Tataki presentation, which offers delicately seasoned tuna displayed beautifully with sliced cucumber rounds topped off with a generous drizzling of ponzu sauce and a quail egg.

For a culinary experience not to be forgotten, Prime Restaurant offers an extensive menu sure to please most anyone’s desires for all things appetizing, satisfying, and memorable. From prime steaks to fresh handmade sushi and sashimi offerings to traditional classics sure to delight the palate. The comforting and inviting setting and well-informed staff will please with their customer service skills and friendly conversation, while the entire environment will set you at ease and convince you to return again very soon.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The inviting entry to this dining establishment welcomes patrons inside with an impressive spacious sushi lounge and complete full elegant, yet comfortable dining room alongside floor to ceiling windows that allow lots of light in during the day. Bursts of vibrant cobalt blues, soothing light woodwork, and a selection of seating choices offer something for everyone.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Fresh sushi and sashimi preparations, intriguing cocktails, prime steaks and delectable seafood presentations as well as classic favorites. The establishment boasts over 250 labels available by the glass and by the bottle for your enjoyment.
  • LOCATION: The eatery is located inside Lennox Square mall at 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 4030 on the second floor in the Buckhead community of Atlanta, GA 30326.
  • HOURS: The restaurant is available for service Monday through Thursday from 11:30 PM until 10:00 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM, and on Sundays from 4:00 until 9:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The staff’s well-directed demeanor is quite pleasing. We’ve always had impeccable service, servers and management who have gone above and beyond for us, and memorable friendly conversations with employees who remember us and welcome us back when we return.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The price point at Prime Restaurant has always seemed satisfactory to us considering what one receives for the value it provides.
  • CORKAGE FEE: Unfortunately, no outside alcohol is permitted inside the restaurant at this time.
  • PARKING: The Lenox Square Mall offers ample complimentary parking surrounding the building, while valet service at the main entrance has proved convenient for us.
  • PRICING: The Prime Special Rolls and Dancing Eel Rolls arrived at $12 each, while the Slow Roasted Prestige Farms Chicken came in at $17. The Tuna Tataki was priced at an easy $9.

Prime  Restaurant Reviews

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

McCRADY’S RESTAURANT… “History, Romance & James Beard Excellence!”

A romantic stroll arm-in-arm one evening led us down an ages-old cobblestone alleyway lit only by the soft glow of antique gas lanterns to what we would soon consider to be one of the best meals of our lives. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places & Landmarks, within the walls of what was once known as Charleston’s first tavern built in 1771 located in the middle of the historic French Quarter district of downtown Charleston, SC this unique-all-to-itself culinary anomaly has been pleasing the distinctive palates of discriminative patrons since opening its doors as McCrady’s Restaurant to the public. I was excited to not only be spending a romantic evening dining in one of the city’s top restaurants, but also to be a consumer of a menu crafted by none other than Chef Sean Brock…multiple James Beard Award winner, passionate foodie, culinary genius.

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This downtown locale of opulent grandeur and elegance welcomed us in with its larger than life gastronomic arms undoubtedly knowing and priding itself on the fact that it would possess our undivided attention in every way culinary. Exposed rustic brick walls and archways reminded us of dining in a private wine cellar, while deep violet-hued seating added to the visual complacency of the overall appearance of the main dining room. Vibrant pops of color burst forth from fine art hung on the walls surrounding us and two massive wood burning fireplaces took charge of overseeing the evening crowd, while cathedral-style, almost gothic chandeliers hung overhead. Around a corner in a seductively inviting lounge where George Washington was rumored to have visited on many occasions, rich woods graced with touches of rubbed bronze accents welcome the lone diner or the seasoned traveler hoping for a unique hand-shaken libation or nightly special creation from the kitchen. A striking floor-to-ceiling space reserves time for leisurely evenings complete with festive liquid libation creations. Contemporary crimson under-lighting beneath a spacious bar, and an intimate coved dining space are overseen by a second story wine cellar on display as you look to the heavens from this seductive space, while elegant modernly-enhanced bar-mounted lighting fixtures provide a cast of soft illumination offering an intriguing ambiance in this historic space.

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Custom Martinis & Artisan Breads

Homemade artisan bread is supplied to each meticulously-set dining table, while soft radiations of light create the perfect ambiance. Cathedral-style chandeliers hang overhead highlighting deep violet tones of dining chairs, exposed aged brick, and colorful pops of color from eye-catching vibrant paintings displayed on dining room walls. A feel of dining inside an private wine cellar prevails amongst the exposed brick and rich woods. My husband chose a simple yet indulgent rum cocktail, made with a distinct Mount Gay dark rum, while I was in the mood for a martini featuring freshly made artistry from the bar. I ordered an elderflower martini, and when our server said she would check if the lounge had elderflower to craft my request, I told her if not, a cucumber version would be acceptable as well. Upon her return, I was surprised with a new creation: an Elderflower-Cucumber martini. This was a new one for me, but quite pleasing enough that I ordered two more over the course of our dinner this particular evening.

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Cucumber, Green Strawberry & Radish Salad

With libations being consumed, and our orders places, our first of four courses arrived. Our four-course dinner selections began arriving soon after our second round of beverages were served. My husband’s appetizer choice was Chef Brock’s stunningly vibrant salad compiled with the likes of fresh sliced cucumber, unexpectedly refreshing green strawberries, bursts of radish for a flavor contrast, and a buttermilk lemon ricotta that joined all these luscious flavors in harmony. A sorrel vinaigrette enhanced this excellent mix of plated greenery, while fresh-picked herbs and shoots from the restaurant’s own rooftop garden were displayed beautifully amongst this collection of elegant edibles.

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Cox Farms Beef Tartare

After tasting Chef Brock’s Beef Tartare, we were without hesitation to add it to our top five favorite versions that we’ve ever remembered enjoying so much. Both visually appealing, and full of appropriate flavor, this version was compellingly intensified by the addition of Hay roasted beets, faro and lichen topped with a light-as-air multi grain cracker, and the intense inclusion of fresh pansies atop the finished product, which created a fairytale-esque vision to behold before devouring every single flavor-filled morsel remaining on the plate.

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Local Caught Pan Seared Trout

Our second course started with my selection of the Local Pan Seared Trout. A magnificent filet of local caught trout was strategically placed upon a plate of fava bean and parsnip cream, while a benne inclusion added a flavorsome sesame taste to the dish. The additional surprise of Wild Bay foam delighted our visual perception, and forced us to succumb to the intriguing and intense layer upon layer of unexpected, yet highly appreciated flavor.

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Artistic Presentation of Pan Sautéed Snapper

The Pan Sautéed Snapper offering was my husband’s choice for his second-of-four courses. Aromatic, visually pleasing, and succulent from first bite to last, this pan sautéed white fleshed provision from local waters appeared artistically prepared and impressive. A conglomeration of seasonal rhubarb, crunchy celery, green almonds, and an ample accompaniment of Polenta di Riso completes the dish nicely.

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Cox Farms Ribeye

A third course for my other half arrived offering more culinary artistry and excellence. The Cox Farms Ribeye, ramp, fennel, pistachio, and lime. This presentation was not only a vision to behold, but a sensual flavor experience as well. The tender succulent portion of savory beef graced with exceptional unique enhancements was a surprising, yet delightful experience we were thrilled to partake in.

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Duo of Berkshire Pork

Berkshire Farms pork offered us a lighter, yet still hearty third course option. Tender from the first bite to the final savory morsel that was devoured, we appreciated the colorful display of fresh asparagus, honeycomb-shaped sensational morel mushrooms, and a mustard with burnt honey finale that combined to create the expertly-composed flavors of this main course perfection. Trying to not wait too long as we were mesmerized by the visual charm of this thick-cut presentation, once that first taste was savored, we realized just how nonstop this flavor endeavor was becoming.

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Ambrose Strawberry Tart & Elderflower and Frozen Parfait of Grits

The fourth and final course for the evening was that of pure sugary delight and satisfaction. So much so that every taste of our selections nearly danced on our taste buds in sheer delight. The offering of all things vibrantly colored and expertly flavored appeared in stunning shades of vibrant reds with coordinating garnishes. The Ambrose Strawberry Tart crafted from berries recovered from Chef Brock’s personal garden on Wadmalaw Island kept company by a presentation of strawberry sorbet and an essence of my favorite enhancement…elderflower. The other, a parfait of grits beneath a crisp disc of crunchy sweetness situated upon a pool of Geranium broth and a preserved dewberry finish atop the presentation offering an added punch of fresh fruit flavor. House made macaroons and almond cookies were given to us by our server on top of it all.

Concluding our divine dining experience at McCrady’s Restaurant, we looked around and realized we had closed the establishment down. We often have a habit of doing this, which we have become known at many establishments for doing. There’s just something about a magical meal, a perfectly charming ambiance, and that feeling of perfection that we so enjoy partaking in. That’s what patrons will experience at this lavish dining institution. We will be returning again very soon, as we were so very impressed by the culinary expertise, alluring environment, and charm woven into the eatery from a city well known for such an attribute.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The elegant setting the restaurant provides its patrons proves welcoming and inviting. Warm hues and a contrast of exposed aged brick wrap diners in a world of all things colorful, soothing, and tantalizing.
  • FOOD / DRINK: The cuisine displayed stunning renditions of Lowcountry favorites, but with Chef Brock’s highly skilled touch and culinary sophistication. Truly Southern fine dining at it’s utmost best.
  • LOCATION: McCrady’s Restaurant is located amongst Charleston’s cobblestone walkways at 2 Unity Alley in Charleston, SC 29401.
  • HOURS: The eatery is available for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 PM until 9:30 PM, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 PM until 10:30 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The professional and spot-on service the staff presents is almost uncanny. Noticeable strength in servers’ capability to provide quality service will impress as well as not go forgotten or unspoken about outside of this establishment.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The awe-inspiring unique presentations of Chef Brock delight, while hand shaken adult libations crafted by expertly-trained bartenders wow with visual and savory appeal. Items could have been priced double what they were and we would have gladly opened our pocketbooks to pay for such culinary grandeur and opulence.
  • CORKAGE FEE: The restaurant charges a $25 corkage fee per 750mL bottle.
  • PARKING: There is parking available in city parking garages as well as metered street parking in front of the establishment.
  • PRICING: The two four-course menus we chose this particular evening came in at $65 per person, while my husband’s three Mt. Gay Eclipse rum cocktails arrived for $9 apiece. My custom made Elderflower Cucumber martinis appeased me at $14 each.

*Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

RUSSIAN DACHA CAFE… “A Villa of Culinary Comfort!”

Satisfying our hankering for more savory Ukranian cuisine, we visited our favorite tucked-away Ukrainian-Russian eatery again for more savory presentations. Not unexpectedly proving yet again just what an ideal location this truly is for a romantic dining experience, power luncheon, or relaxing day out together. As most of our culinary experiences have proved during our many visits to Russian Dacha Cafe, this most recent adventure was no exception.

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Chilled Chardonnay & Kompot?

We had to show what the lunch special offers at this unassuming tucked-away locale. We arrived with a couple of bottles of our own wine to enjoy with our lunch selections on the “outdoor” patio beneath the flowering bougainvillea tree we have come to love so much. We chose one lunch special and one entree to start. The lunch special came with Kompot, which is a fruit punch of sorts made in nearly every Russian and Ukrainian household. Not too sweet, yet flavorful enough to satisfy on a warm day when dining al fresco, and a visually appealing hue of garnet that mesmerizes the eye.

Russian Dasha (2)1Red Borsch

The Red Borsch offering is a selection of items available from the lunch special menu. For just $11.99, patrons may select from a green salad, red borsch or solyanka, a side and an entree from the day’s selection of choices. We started with the Red Borsch above and were quite pleased with the steaming hot, vibrant-colored burst of flavor provided by such a delicious and hearty conglomeration of beets, crushed tomatoes and other compliant vegetables, pieces of lean pork, onions, garlic and a light herb addition. Each spoonful delivered palatable complacency, while the large chunks of beet and potato provided massive flavor and heartiness. Garnished with fresh picked parsley and a side of chilled sour cream, this dish is excellent as a starter for any meal at Russian Dacha Cafe.

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Beef Stroganoff 

Not your typical American version of Beef Stroganoff, this entree arrives straight from the oven in a clay serving vessel haloed by crispy fries atop a large serving plate. Not part of the lunch special options, we couldn’t resist trying this Russian feature which included a light addition of sour cream to its already meaty and hearty components of lean beef, sweet onions, thick-cut earthy mushrooms, a savory cream sauce, and coordinating herbs and spices. A perfectly prepared and ample serving, you might just have leftovers to take with you before the night’s over!

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Otbivnaya

The Otbivnaya is a tenderized pork steak which is seasoned then dipped in egg and flour then fried to a golden perfection. The lightly breaded exterior locks in the juiciness and savory flavors of this Russian favorite. Served with mashed potatoes and a freshly steamed vegetable medley. A perfectly rounded meal on a single plate, this lunch special choice fulfills as well as enlights with memorable tastes of culinary delight. 

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Chocolate Cheese Blintzes

The Chocolate Cheese Crepes are a subtly sweet and tempting finale to any meal at Russian Dacha Cafe. These delicately wrapped sweetened cheese confections offer an unsurpassable amount of satisfaction. Close your eyes for a moment and just imagine paper-thin pancake-like orbs gently wrapped around a creamy chilled cheese filling, then drizzled with a succulent chocolate sauce and showered with crunchy nuts! Large enough to share with another diner, and especially after the meal we enjoyed on this visit, we consider it the perfect sweet surrender to polish off a lovely meal at Russsian Dacha Cafe.

One of our all-time favorite dining institutions in Valley Village, CA offering an intimate and cozy ambience, succulent and flavorsome cuisine options, and no charge for personal bottles of wine, Champagne, or even vodka, Russian Dacha Cafe modestly and successfully leads the competition without hesitation.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The decor of Russian Dacha Cafe is alluring in a mysterious, yet intriguing way. Though it appears at first glance to be an indoor establishment with a quaint outdoor dining space is really an entirely outdoor restaurant. The draped canvas coverings force one to feel as though there is a differential dining area, yet the entire area is completely al fresco. Large flat screen televisions advertising Russian music videos creates an intriguing appeal when seated “indoors”, while on the immediate front area beneath a flowering Bougainvillea tree, romantic evenings may be enjoyed during those much loved California afternoons or evenings.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Succulent and stunning eye-appealing presentations accompanied by an open corkage allowance for bottles of wine and vodka.
  • LOCATION: The restaurant is located at 5338 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Valley Village, CA 91607.
  • HOURS: Available for service Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 noon until 10:00 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 Noon until 11:30 PM. The eatery is closed on Mondays. (Call ahead if you plan to arrive late, as the eatery does close when business is slower on certain evenings).
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Tania usually serves us the flavor-filled items we often order at Russian Dacha Café. Her ability to befriend customers, level of kindness and professionalism, and sincere devotion to her patrons and her work offer unparalleled customer service to all.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The cuisine is enriched with flavor bursting from a varied selection of Russian and Ukrainian favorites at a reasonable price.
  • CORKAGE FEE: No corkage fee at this tucked-away restaurant…including bottles of wine as well as vodka!
  • PARKING: The easiest parking access exists along the sidewalk in front of the establishment.
  • PRICING: The Lunch Special arrived at a simple $11.99, while the Beef Stroganoff came in at a fair $14.99. We paid no corkage on the two bottles of wine we enjoyed with lunch, and we also indulged in a Cheese and Chocolate Blintz for dessert for an acceptable $6.50.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

THE RAREBIT… “Penninsular Charleston’s Downtown Brunch Haven!”

Nestled amongst a myriad of crowd-pleasing restaurants and accommodating canteens and lounges of upper King Street’s numerous restaurants and bars is The Rarebit nestled conveniently between Ann and Mary streets along a thoroughfare of bustling window shopping and fine southern dining options. When considering meeting up with friends, family, or business associates for Sunday brunch, The Rarebit in downtown Charleston could just be the perfect place to gather. This no-reservations, first-come-first-served eatery offering traditional American comfort foods and all-day breakfast has fast become one of Charleston’s most loved locations to meet, greet, and eat. When we think of relaxed, lingering, and comforting savory Sunday brunches across the country, we think of The Rarebit as one of our top ten locales to patronize. A comforting food haven of decadent morsels awaiting hungry patrons providing inviting cozy booths and an elongated community table in the center of a welcoming eating space often bustling with a crowd of appetite-starved customers anxiously awaiting that satisfying moment when that first bite is savored and that final taste is remembered.

The Rarebit

Mimosas, Mules & Greyhounds

A varietal menu crafted to suit most anyone’s palate, all in an environment graced with a 60s touch and an emphasis on comfort and those diner-style favorites sought after by hungry patrons. The beverages are a must-do when visiting this culinary haven of goodness. All mixers are made in-house, while every libation is handcrafted right before your eyes at an impressive bar by knowledgeable and conversational mixologists. Juices are squeezed fresh daily, and there is quite a selective cocktail menu to peruse. A traditional Greyhound is served in a tall glass made with Smirnoff Vodka, grapefruit juice, and limeade with a grapefruit peel topper. I usually don’t order these unless I’m enjoying trays of fresh oysters on the half shell, but I had to give it a try. The result, a smooth preparation of chilled well-crafted flavors that sent my taste buds begging for another round of the flavorful chilled liquid. We also opted for the restaurant’s popular Moscow Mule served in a chilled copper mug blended with Smirnoff Vodka, Sweatman’s Ginger Beer, and that flavorful house made limeade. Several Mimosas were also ingested before we were even seated and proved refreshing and deserving, while the Bloody Mary concoctions delivered both adequate amounts of spice and satisfying grown up taste.

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Track Breakfast

Sometimes you just want a traditional breakfast in the morning. That’s why The Rarebit offers their Track Breakfast filled with flavorsome morning meal favorites. Served with a collection of two eggs, crisp bacon, and southern grits with a choice of white, wheat, or rye toast, this simple, Southern treat offers diners a great basic breakfast to begin the day (or end it) loaded with all the goodness one could expect.

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Huervos Rancheros

The eatery’s version of Huervos Rancheros arrives in a visual display of brilliant hues and its aroma is exceptionally pleasing. A house made corn tortilla is topped with a rich and creamy black bean purée, two expertly fried eggs, then is joined by chilled sliced vibrantly-colored avocado and roasted tomato salsa that will leave you craving more. Graced with a crown of hand-picked parsley, this succulent and visually appealing breakfast dish rivaled most Huervos Rancheros versions we’ve experienced elsewhere.

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Fish & Chips

Have a hankering for something fried and delicious to start your morning? It does happen, and there is a solution to morning battered happiness. Try the eatery’s Fish & Chips selection with their popular beer battered cod presented with house cut fries, southern chow chow, and the added inclusion of malt vinegar. I wasn’t planning on indulging in anything fried this particular Sunday, but I couldn’t resist, and would up devouring more than just a few bites of this light and airy battered plate of morning joy.

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Duck Confit Hash Blue Plate Special

I opted for choosing the daily special of the restaurant’s Duck Confit Hash. Just listening to our server explain what it was constructed of made my mouth water and speak out instantly, “We’ll take one of those also!” Happy that I did that, this preparation of breakfast delight arrived in all its splendor and glory to our table with the smells of everything wonderful wafting through the space. Two glorious perfectly poached eggs atop a heaping pile of potato chunks, portions of lean sumptuous duck meat, crispy bacon, and green onion all melded together with a luscious chalone sauce. Definitely a dish we feel should be made a permanent part of the menu.

We can only think of a hundred reasons that you should stop in and see what The Rarebit has to offer you in terms of a comforting ambience, delicious all-day fare, and liberating beverages. When sojourning through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, make The Rarebit one of your morning fare priorities. We know you won’t be disappointed!

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The upscale diner motif is enhanced by various 60s-themed pictures and eclectic items placed throughout the eatery. An elongated communal table in the center of the restaurant allows for the casual enjoyment of drinks and bites, great people watching, and makes for the perfect area to meet fellow diners and make new friends in the process.
  • FOOD / DRINK: High quality ingredients and fresh squeezed juices make for superlative tasting meals and libations at this culinary gem.
  • LOCATION: The Rarebit is located at 474 King Street in downtown peninsular Charleston, SC 29403.
  • HOURS: The Rarebit serves Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 AM until 2:00 AM with breakfast items from 11:00 AM to 1:00 Am, and their full menu from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The proficiency, attention to detail, and level of service the staff displayed during our visit was impressive. Questions about the eatery and menu selections were answered confidently and without hesitation, while each employee offered a kind smile and was always willing to offer assistance.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The reasonable price point of the several items we tried and enjoyed was greatly appreciated. With being offered such perfect portions, we felt the restaurant was being fair with its price-to-value ratio.
  • CORKAGE FEE: The restaurant informed us that they don’t ordinarily have many personal wines brought in by patrons, but in that circumstance, they would certainly work out an acceptable corkage charge to accommodate diners.
  • PARKING: Metered street parking and area valet lots and garages are available to accommodate your vehicle while dining at this eatery.
  • PRICING: The Track Breakfast was simply priced at $7, while the Huervos Rancheros came in at an easy $8. The Fish & Chips was an acceptable $14 and was an ample portion of fish and fries, while the amazing Duck Hash Blue Plate Special arrived at $14. The Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and Moscow Mules came in at a fair $8 each. We also enjoyed a few Greyhounds priced each at $7.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

VERSAILLES CUBAN RESTAURANT… “Mojo Sauce & the City’s BEST Roasted Chicken!”

When Orlando Garcia created his secret marinade sauce comprised of a special mix of seasonings he came to call Mojo sauce, he must have realized he was on to something amazing. Aside from the incredible authentic Cuban cuisine offering flavor and quality in every bite, Orlando’s Mojo sauce made his roasted chicken that much better. That’s just one thing that is so popular at his multiple Versailles locations on the western seaboard of the U.S.

Versailles (CA)

With California locations in Encino, Culver City, Los Angeles, and Manhattan Beach, Orlando’s cooking has become known over the years as some of the best Cuban cuisine there is in the area. Having had son William eventually join the family business, the two now continue the tradition of fine Cuban cuisine together. Upon the initial entry into the Encino location, the feel of Cuban culture immediately embraces patrons as they step inside. Vibrant tones of mustard yellows, lime greens, deep blues, and lively reds expressively welcome and invite with open arms, while the eclectic fusion of Native American, Spanish, African, and Caribbean heritages combine to produce the spectacular result of Cuban cuisine that many of us have come to know and love.

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Ensalada Mixta

The Ensalada Mixta is a gently tossed mixed salad of favorite fresh ingredients. Hand-sliced Beefsteak tomatoes offer company for the mixed greens and creamy chilled avocado, while the robust taste of red onions excite the palate and accompany the house made vinaigrette dressing to craft an incredibly refreshing, visually pleasing starter to any meal at Versailles.

Versailles (CA)1Famoso Pollo Versailles

The famous house specialty of this restaurant…the roasted garlic chicken. An ample portion, this half roasted chicken arrives succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender. Marinated in Orlando’s secret Mojo sauce with an eclectic mix of special seasonings and the perfect addition of garlic, this dish is then served with sliced onions and presented proudly to all whom order it. We ordered a side of white rice and beans to join this flavor experience, which went very well with the succulent roasted chicken specialty.

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Arroz Con Pollo

Love chicken and rice offerings? Then this menu choice will have you eating it nowhere else but a Versailles location! Tender marinated chicken mixed with Valencia rice the color of gold, special seasonings, and sweet fried plantains, then finished off with green peas and colorful pimentos. Such a festive appearance and an amazing display of robust hues that not only leave the local or visiting patron mesmerized by the presentation of this menu favorite, but also enthralled with the combination of flavors sure to please.

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Pollo En Salsa Barbacoa

I was literally fascinated with this dish. A roasted, amply-portioned half chicken smothered in the reataurant’s own tangy, sweet, and mouthwatering barbeque sauce, the Pollo En Salsa Barbacoa is THE meal of the century for the barbeque connoisseur. You’ll see just how perfectly tender this preparation truly is. It’s hard not to when you’ve got some of the most tender, juicy, savory roasted chicken you can wrap your appetite around!

So much to choose from, these are just a few delicious selections we tried at Versailles in Encino, California. Why not give these and other selections a try and see for yourself just what an anomaly the chain of Versailles restaurants has become on the west coast of Southern California. Our staff literally cannot wait to return for more deliciousness from this authentic Cuban eatery.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Golden yellow walls embrace patrons as they enter this location with warmth and hospitality. Pops of color in reds and blues and greens enhance the festive Cuban environment, and compliment the restaurant’s delicious fare.
  • FOOD / DRINK: The fun of visiting a restaurant never before experienced is sometimes the surprise you receive at first bite. Stunning presentations appealing both to the eye as well as the palate prepared lovingly in a kitchen serving the masses craving fine authentic Cuban cuisine.
  • LOCATION: This particular location of Versailles is located at 1740 Ventura Boulevard in Encino, CA 91316.
  • HOURS: The Encino Versailles is available for dining Sunday through Thursday 11:00 AM through 10:00 PM, and on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The service was exemplary during our feast at Versailles. We were quite impressed with the professionalism and superior care that was provided from our server and the staff.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The price point of the items at Versailles is incredibly reasonable for the succulent fare offered.
  • CORKAGE FEE: An acceptable $9.95 corkage charge exists per 750mL bottle brought into the restaurant to enjoy with your meal.
  • PARKING: There is available complimentary parking in the lot in front of the restaurant for your convenience.
  • PRICING: The Ensalada Mixtas were acceptable at $7.50, while the Famoso Pollo Versailles came in at $12.99. The side of steamed white rice arrived at $2.99, and the offering of black beans was priced at $1.99. The colorful and flavorsome Arroz Con Pollo was served for $14.99, while the Pollo En Salsa Barbacoa was a fair and reasonable $12.99.

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

HOUSTON’S RESTAURANT… “Power Lunches & Casual Sophistication!”

This is where it all started for me. My absolute adoration of this restaurant chain featuring classic upscale renditions of American classsics and a few original creations as well. Years ago, a group of college friends and I stopped in for lunch at the Houston’s Restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana and I was sold on the spot. The feel of this place was amazing. There was a sophisticated air to the environment where the staff was well-advised to please patrons, and where a lunch date with friends turned into one of the most memorable experiences for me.

Houston's Metairie

The mood of the establishment is inviting and spacious. Cozy dimly-lit nooks and comforting seats at a large full bar make for a pleasing and accommodating start to one’s evening. Colorful sea creatures swim in an aquatic tank beside the lounge watching passers-by while guests await a table to experience dining in this popular eatery.  Unique and at times whimsical decor creates a fun and lively ambiance, which brings forth conversation and laughter along with good times.

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Chicago-Style Spinach Dip

The Chicago-Style Spinach Dip is one flavorsome appetizer that we have enjoyed on numerous visits to this particular location. Cooked spinach and artichokes are joined together with gooey Parmesan and other cheeses to create a mouthwatering display of edible happiness. Crisp fresh tortilla chips are served along side as well as ramekins of salsa and sour cream. We promise you won’t be able to stop at just one bite of this incredible conglomeration of flavors. We know we certainly never can!

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Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

A savory seafood dish that may be enjoyed between two patrons as a starter or as a full entree is the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. Served with the restaurant’s classic coleslaw, roasted marinated beets with goat cheese, and a sinful and rich, yet simplistic Pommery mustard sauce, these pan-sautéed blue crab patties of delight will have you wondering why you never had these before. A double thumbs-up for this menu selection, as these have to be some of the best crab cakes we’ve ever enjoyed!

INSIDER’S TIP: Despite the restaurant having taken this item off the menu for their seasonal rotation, ask your server if the chef will prepare this for you despite. If the kitchen has fresh lump crab meat and the necessary ingredients on hand, they’ll secretly whip a couple up in the kitchen for your dining pleasure as they did for us!

Houston's Metairie4Grilled Tuna Steak

If your taste buds are ready to be catapulted into overload status, then the Grilled Tuna Steak is just the thing to pacify those flavor receptors! Tender juicy Ahi tuna is pan seared in a Champagne vinaigrette then delicately sprinkled with Cajun seasoning. The hint of sweetness and touch of spice blends exceptionally well, while the additions of ponzu sauce and a side of coleslaw with fresh slices of ripe plum tomatoes add a refreshing note to this selection.

Houston's Metairie3Grilled Red Fish

An intriguing and flavor-filled sensation worth experiencing is the Grilled Red Fish. Prepared with crisped sizable rock shrimp, steamed broccoli, and a succulent lemon butter sauce, the fish is filleted daily to ensure freshness and is lovingly tended to over a hardwood grill, which truly brings out the flavor in most everything this intimate restaurant has to offer. Pile on that classic famous coleslaw, because it’s got to be one of the best around. Fresh, chilled, and loaded with flavor, I could literally eat an entire bowl of this and be completely happy.

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Pan Fried Fish

This was sensational! The Pan Fried Halibut crusted with Japanese breadcrumbs and seasoned with herbs and light spices arrived two filets to a serving. Accompanied by the classic coleslaw made famous by the Hillstone brand, the addition of halved plum tomatoes and a vessel of creamy Remoulade sauce and a squeeze of lemon set the tone perfectly. We loved the way the crunch of the crispy Panko exterior and the mildness of the interior flesh of the fish contrasted. The added burst of freshness from the tomatoes was also a nice touch.

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Coffee & Apple Walnut Cobbler

If you’re an apple pie connoisseur, you’re going to adore the Apple Walnut Cobbler dessert at Houston’s. This exuberant sweet gift of the sugar gods has been delivering us to places of contentment for years. Crunchy from the walnuts, perfectly gooey from the caramelized sugars, gingerly spiced with everything nice, and finished off with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream, there simply could not be anything better. Add a couple of mugs of Houston’s exceptional coffee to that, and we don’t know how much closer to perfection you can get.

When traveling through the cities of south Louisiana, stop in at Houston’s Restaurant in the city of Metairie just outside of the Crescent City. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed with the elegant setting, attentive staff, and exceptional cuisine this location has to offer.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Both classically and modernly appointed, the restaurant exudes a warm and intimate ambiance perfect for most any occasion.
  • FOOD / DRINK: There is an array of choices to select from that will not only delight your palate, but will keep you returning again and again to this casual, yet classic restaurant. Crafty libations from the bar, savory memorable menu items, and desserts that will top off any meal without hesitation
  • LOCATION: This particular Houston’s Restaurant is located at 4241 veterans memorial Boulevard in Metairie, LA 70006.
  • HOURS: The eatery serves Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The service at Houston’s is exemplary. It has been since our first visit, and we know it won’t be changing anytime soon.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The price point is spot on for the freshness and presentation of the fare.
  • CORKAGE FEE: There is NO CORKAGE CHARGE at Houston’s Restaurant!
  • PARKING: A large private lot is available for parking while patronizing the establishment.
  • PRICING: The Chicago-Style Spinach Dip was fairly positioned at a simple $12, while the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes came in at a worth-every-penny $34. We were intrigued with the Grilled Ref Fish presentation at $28, and shared our praises with the chef over the Grilled Tuna Steak for $24. The Pan Fried Fish offering was a reasonable $26, and our finale of the Apple Walnut Cobbler for $8 and cups of coffee at $2.75 each we enjoyed polished our meal off nicely. 

Houston's on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

FOUR SEASONS RESORT SCOTTSDALE @ TROON NORTH… “Sonoran Dessert Prestige!”

 There are moments in life that we never forget. Moments in time that remind us to take a brief pause from our busy schedules, take a breath, and just take it all in. Moments that remind us to simply enjoy our experience because we deserve it…because we’ve earned it. We’ve lived many of those moments at a specific resort over the years. A place where bad times simply don’t exist. Amidst the cacti-plentiful foothills of Pinnacle Peak, a breathtaking lavish desert backdrop calls to those who are willing to surrender to the beauty of this desert oasis. Located in the Salt River Valley, Scottsdale AZ is home to picturesque sunsets and mountainous structures, is known world-wide as a destination spa and art gallery mecca, and is home to the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North. During our travels, we will come across resorts and hotels that strikes us as magical…as exceptional…as somewhere we could only experience in a dream. Visiting the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale at Troon North is a bit like walking into a dream.  A perfectly crafted Sonoran dream that every human being should experience at least once in their life. Four Seasons Scottsdale

 Known as “the West’s most Western town”, Scottsdale’s playing home to this grandiose resort is certainly a task it proudly covets. The property’s main entrance performs a magnificent job of impressing each guest that arrives at this desert sanctuary. The topography and visual complacency are storybook perfect while the available amenities are more than anyone could possibly hope for.  It amazed us just how well the resort itself was designed to so seamlessly fuse with the the stunning natural landscape as though it is was always an original component of the original backdrop.

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The main entrance into the resort’s reception area proves that a trip to this luxe and lavish resort is worthwhile. Southwestern styled decor ranging from the wagon wheel shaped spindle-style chandeliers hovering overhead to the hearty log-beamed ceilings to the strategic placement of vibrantly colored décor and appealing Arizona architecture, the weary traveler will be be immediately refreshed with libations from Onyx Bar & Lounge mere steps from the front desk and a comforting spacious living room with views over the property’s center green one level below.

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The Arizona landscape is truly stunning. From the Saguaro to the Kern Beavertail to the Arizona Hedgehog to the Eagle Claw and Prickly Pear, there is no shortage of cacti species to entertain the eye or involve the nature lover in us all. Beautiful walking trails and colorful flowering indigenous plants and trees add to the natural beauty as well. Try a hike at daybreak at Pinnacle Peak for an added adventure during your stay for something unique and reviving to the body and soul.

Four Seasons Scottsdale3It’s always nice being welcomed back to familiar locations we find ourselves returning to over the years.  Between our travel agent and the resort staff, we’re always treated to unique welcome gifts in our casita. It’s fun to see what will be there there waiting for us! We’ve appreciated the beverages, bottles of wine, chilled Champagne and strawberries, flavorsome snacks, and even treats and toys for our feline companion. They’re always so kind and we greatly appreciate their generosity.

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The resort offers 210 spacious guest casitas which convey the epitome of Arizona architecture. Soft-cornered adobe exteriors encase warm and inviting interior guest suites complete with gas fireplaces, handcrafted custom Mexican and Indian furnishings and artwork. In-suite bars provide alluring and creative snacking and beverage options, while L’Occitane bath amenities grace the tile and marble en-suite bathrooms exuding luxurious aromas of soothing and energetic verbena, sweet cherry blossom, and relaxing lavender.

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The very first thing we do when we check into our casita at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort @ Troon North is settle in, light a candle on the patio, and open a great bottle of red wine. Then we sit with our feline travel companion amongst us as we watch the sun set over the horizon. The spacious patios offer impressive Sonoran views, while the evening’s fading skyline turns to night and turn one’s attention to a galaxy of shimmering stars in the heavens above after dark.

Four Seasons Scottsdale4We truly enjoy lazy mornings and usually rely on the resort’s In-Room Dining staff to care for our morning nourishment needs. Always punctual, continuously consistent, and offering the freshest and most flavorful ingredients in every dish we have tried, we thoroughly appreciate the menu offerings. From Breakfast Burritos to Smoked Salmon to traditional American breakfasts to fruit smoothies, Classic French toast, spectacular Huervos Rancheros and more, we can assure you that you won’t spend your days hungry after consuming one of these tantalizing and filling morning treats. Delivered straight from the Talavera kitchen, delivery is executed perfectly and the amazing desertscape views from our casita patio only adds to the experience.

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A sea blue wonderland awaits guests’ arrival at the resort pool area. Set amidst natural boulder formations and breathtaking views of Pinnacle Peak, one could almost forget of their love for the coastline altogether. Spacious cabanas line the perimeter of each of the three pools, while an attentive staff generously attends to guests’ needs with chilled towels, iced water, fruit skewers, flavorsome healthy smoothies, and a complete menu selection from Saguaro Blossom, the resort’s poolside light fare restaurant and bar.

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The grounds of the resort are meticulously manicured and managed by an unseen staff of professional landscape artists. Bursts of colorful blooms, plentiful greenery, and the serene sound of water from modernly-designed fountains and natural ponds throughout the resort add to the peaceful feeling one will gain from being here. Sprawling lawns offer spacious areas for private gatherings and special occasions, while hidden areas are reserved for special dinners and large celebrations. Guest casitas are strikingly beautiful with their tucked-away sand-hued adobe construction and pleasing-to-the-eye approach.

INSIDER’S TIP: Ask your resort Concierge about the property’s Celestial Picnics on the private lawn at night. My husband surprised me with this evening on one of our visits to the property, and it was truly an experience to remember that we highly recommend.

Onyx

Onyx Bar & Lounge offers creative flavorsome bites and sensational libations sure to please the palate and tempt the appetizer connoisseur in us all. (See our reviews of Onyx Bar & Lounge at:http://savorhour.com/?cat=2660).  Conveniently positioned just off of the main lobby, enjoy indoor and outdoor service amongst comfortable seating and stunning views from an elevated patio or indoors up-close-and-personal at the mesquite planked bar top and onyx panels that seemingly glow with light in the lounge. Talavera restaurant, just a few feet from Onyx preserves a fine selection of American cuisine with a definite Southwestern flair specifically created by Executive Chef Mel Mecinas. (See our two reviews of Talavera Restaurant at:http://savorhour.com/?cat=2664).Breathtaking presentations of steaks, poultry, seafood and other compilations amaze with sensational taste and authentic style and eye-catching display not to be forgotten. Dining out of doors in the evenings will also prove an experience all it’s own between the elongated fire pit and the night sky filled with billions of twinkling stars, one might find themselves never wanting to leave.

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Saguaro Blossom is conveniently positioned poolside, and is within just a few steps from many casitas on property. Serving exclusively outdoors with a full bar, this casual eatery offers light fare to suit most anyone’s taste. Views of Troon Mountain and Pinnacle Peak allow for amazing visual entertainment as well as the towering cacti surrounding the pool area. The Saguaro Blossom menu is also available during pool service hours.

Proof (Dinner)4

Chef Jesse Hansen took the reigns of Proof in 2012 successfully hailing over this first-of-a-kind upscale casual dining experience. (See our three reviews of Proof Canteen at:http://savorhour.com/?cat=2605). A tremendously satisfying Happy Hour, savory appetizers, fulfilling meals, and creative breakfasts with unforgettable outdoor views of the resort featuring flavors inspired from a road trip across America deliver “proof” of this new dining sensation’s success.

An extraordinary resort to live out dreams long overdue, an escape from the everyday stresses of life, and a haven for being catered to…simply because we deserve it. That’s what you will find at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North in Arizona.

  • PROPERTY: The property literally could not be more perfect. On our many stays, we have experienced nothing but pristine, expertly-managed, and well-maintained components.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The staff goes out of their way to make your wants and needs come to fruition. A professional, friendly and conversational staff exceeds in the guest service category, while the resort is on call 24 hours to cater to your every whim.
  • PET FRIENDLINESS: The property is one of our favorites encompassing a “no-charge” policy for feline and K-9 companions inside guest casitas. Our feline traveler enjoys the litter box, food and water bowl, bottled water, and cat toys she receives each time we visit the resort. She also loves stretching out on the patio at sunset by our side and peering through the balcony spindles at nature’s habitat and lively desert aves flying nearby. It’s not always easy to find pet-friendly resorts and hotels that allow felines. Luckily, we have found a handful of them during our travels over the years across the country which satisfy our travel and accommodation needs.
  • DINING OPTIONS: The resort offers options from fine dining to casual fare and beyond at multiple on-site venues. Start your evenings at Onyx Lounge for cocktails and light appetizers before heading into nearby Talavera for a refined dining experience. Proof Canteen serves up everything under the sun dealing with the 50 states and great American fare. Saguaro Blossom serves poolside nourishment and libations poolside without hesitation and features a beautiful view from the outdoor dining seating it provides. Don’t forget the resort’s terrific and convenient In-Room Dining services when a trek around Pinnacle Peak tires the body, but nourishes the mind and soul.
  • LOCATION: The resort is expertly positioned in the foothills of stunning Pinnacle Peak at 10600 East Crescent Moon Drive in Scottsdale, AZ 85262.
  • PARKING: Valet services are available for inaccessible-by-vehicle casita locations, while some guest quarter offer parking just outside depending on what part of the resort your room is located in.
  • RESORT AMENITIES: A grand resort from A to Z, the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North,amenities reach from a world-class spa inclusive of a 24-hour fitness center including cardiovascular and weight training equipment, yoga and spinning classes, 14 treatment rooms, 10 massages, nine body treatments, eight facials, six spa packages, and five signature treatments. Room service exists 24 hours for guests’ convenience around the clock, as well as a 24-hour business center, nearby golf activities, three pools on-site, and three restaurants and a full service lounge on property to fulfill any possible craving one might desire.

* Rates and prices subject to change without notice.

 

MASTRO’S OCEAN CLUB RESTAURANT… “Seafood Sensations & More Tableside Handshaken Martinis!”

Mastro’s restaurants are establishments of elegant presentation, noted world-class service, where being catered to is a regular occurrence and where enjoying oneself is not only expected, but encouraged. Having been so impressed with our experience at the Mastro’s Steakhouse in Scottsdale on our last visit to Arizona with it’s geographically breathtaking topography (see our review of Mastro’s Steakhouse here: http://savorhour.com/?p=15415), we made the decision to try its sister property, Mastro’s Ocean Club, located in the same city to see what this culinary giant had to offer.

O Club

 The outdoor approach was simple and elegant, while inside guests were engulfed in a relaxed and comforting escape where the aromas of butter drenched seafood and sizzling steaks surround one’s longings for the finer things in life. A notable wine selection was presented for those favoring something from the vineyards. An expansive full bar and lounge insisted on beckoning those to its side for enjoyment of weekly live entertainment and an array of signature cocktails and tantalizing appetizers offered themselves from an extensive menu. While the general environment of the entire establishment embrace its guests with the glow of modernly-appointed chandeliers and up lighting throughout the eatery.

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 Fresh Bake Bread & Savory Martinis

The eye catching bread display featured a flavorsome soft pretzel bread, a garlic brushed buttery sliced baguette, and sourdough and wheat versions as well along with a vessel of chilled sweet cream butter. When in the mood for a few crafty libations from the bar, why not give a couple of popular signature martinis a whirl? We praised the Pomegranate Martini with it’s Ketel Citron Vodka, Monin Pomegranate, triple sec and sweet and sour inclusions, while the Elderflower Martini delivered a completely different journey for our palates with a combination Belvedere Citrus Vodka, Thatcher’s Elderflower liqueur, Hendrick’s Gin, and fresh lemon juice with a sugared rim. Both cocktails were hand shaken and served table side and were large enough for two drinks per shaker. An impressive and entertaining presentation with immense flavor from start to finish.

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 Shrimp Cocktail

The Shrimp Cocktail appetizer arrived bringing with it yet another offering of dazzling display. Served three to an order (we selected two of these), these colossal vibrantly hued gifts from the sea arrived via stainless steel polished serving vessels engulfed in the wispy smoke-like veil of dry ice beneath. Its stunning and mystical appearance was almost as amazing as this starter’s fresh perfectly chilled flavor. Cocktail sauce and the restaurant’s atomic horseradish were served on the side with lemon wedges. Be prepared for this, because even if you’re a horseradish lover as my husband is, there’s a reason it’s called “atomic”!

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Wedge Salad

The Wedge Salad offering was simple and traditional, yet couldn’t have been made better. Chilled Romaine lettuce and fresh chopped tomatoes joined together with crunchy crisp crumbled bacon, house made blue cheese dressing and an addition of extra freshly crumbled blue cheese for added flavor and texture that forced every bite of these refreshing starter salads to be savored from beginning to end as we contently crunched our way through them.

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Surf & Turf 

For our entrees, we selected the Swordfish Steak and the 12-Ounce Filet with a side of sautéed mushrooms. Both sensationally tender and delectable, the beef was prepared medium to our specifications with a side of Béarnaise for additional indulgence. The Swordfish Steak arrived expertly prepared with eye-catching grill marks across its perfectly-prepared length and was such a stunning display of edible happiness.

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Warm Butter Cake

When a dessert has its own Facebook page, you know it has to be pretty spectacular. This sublime, sinful, colorful existence found its way into our lives (and stomachs) despite the amazingly savory and filling dinner we enjoyed this particular evening. And we can attest that it nearly disappeared after that first tempting bite. To make it even more unbelievably incredible, it was served with an entire bowl of freshly whipped cream to consume with the cake. Talk about sweet endings!

A beautiful upscale venue to enjoy any special occasion or ordinary day. A place to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. A culinary locale that offers seamless service, a flavorful exquisite menu, and where memories can be made from the moment you walk through the front door.

 

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The dim lighting creates an intimate ambiance overall while lively entertainment in an upscale lounge area fills the air with sounds of favorite melodies. The well-put-together modern décor inside the eatery charms and delights offering bold hues as well as warm comforting touches of color that embrace each guest.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Exceptional and noteworthy preparations of sizzling steaks, fresh seafood dishes, and let’s not forget the phenomenal appetizers, side dishes and desserts that take one’s breath away and fill the evening with amazing flavor and a memorable dining experience.
  • LOCATION: This restaurant is located at 15045 North Kierland Boulevard in Scottsdale, AZ 85254.
  • HOURS: The establishment is available for dinner Monday through Thursday and Sunday from 5:00 PM until 10:00 PM, and on Fridays  and Saturdays  from 5:00 PM through 11:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: The care, grace, and skilled team of servers will impress and create the perfect seamless dining experience for anyone.
  • PRICE / VALUE: The quality of the cuisine is top notch, while the liquid temptations are the epitome of liquorous excellence.
  • CORKAGE FEE: TBA
  • PARKING: The parking arrangement allows for self parking as well as valet service for your convenience.
  • PRICING: The Pomegranate and Elderflower Martinis were priced at $18, while the Iceberg Wedge Salads were moderate at $11. The Shrimp Cocktail came in at a reasonable $19 for what was offered, and the Swordfish Steak was a standing $39. The 12-Ounce Filet Mignon was featured at $47, while the Sautéed Mushrooms that accompanied it were an additional $11. Finally, the Butter Cake dessert was a $15 sweet treat well worth every dollar.

Mastro's Ocean Club on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

RUTLEDGE CAB COMPANY… “The Holy City’s Flavorsome Refuge!”

 Known as the “holy city” due to its benevolence of many religions and eminence of various historic houses of worship, Charleston SC possesses intriguing attributes such as dazzling waterways, a historic heritage, and some of the best culinary delights in the south. Owner and Johnson & Wales University-trained Chef Bob Carter, known for his culinary creativity and impressionable offerings must have known from the start that this eatery would be a thriving one. Having opened its doors in January of 2013, this hip and upscale establishment has since proven to the area that it is here to stay.

Rutledge Cab Co

Situated on a visible corner of the Wagener Terrace neighborhood of Charleston, South Carolina exists Rutledge Cab Company. What was once a former fuel and grocery venue was insightfully and artistically transformed into something so much more. Today, this indoor-outdoor elegantly rustic hot spot satisfies the masses with its trend-setting cuisine, full bar featuring popular modernized classic cocktails, and oversight by none other than owner Chef Bob Carter. With its cutting edge conceptual design, Rutledge Cab Company was destined to be a success.

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Approaching the main entry, an alligator skin covered door graced with portholes invites patrons inside where an eclectic yet polished decor maintains an upbeat, lively, and comfortable space created to please anyone’s preference of cuisine, seating choices, or beverage cravings. Deep woods, earthy tones, shiny metal touches, and angled paneled ceilings attribute to the welcoming ambiance made even cozier by low lighting and the comforting feel one gets when stepping foot into this eatery.

INSIDER’S TIP: Be sure to get a good seat on the outdoor patio area to take in the lively weekly live music performances!

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Cocktails With Character 

We started out with a couple of “throwback” cocktails from the full bar. The popular Middleton Mule was crafted with house-infused cucumber gin and fresh lime juice, then topped with cold refreshing Ginger beer. The addition of a lime garnish added the enhancement of color to accompany the delicious and light flavors that joined together nicely. The Upper Manhattan cocktail follows that traditional bourbon taste with an enhancement of house infused mission fig and black cherry essence. A touch of mole bitters and sweet vermouth was added to this savory libation before being garnished with a cherry.

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 Charcoal Grilled Chicken Wing

An amazing way to get those taste buds crazy with delight is to introduce them to the eatery’s Charcoal Grilled Chicken Wings. Succulent and juicy with just a hint of spice, these heavenly tender wings delivered sensational flavor from Charleston’s only indoor charcoal grill. A creamy blue cheese dressing and crisp chilled celery stalks completed the refreshing, creamy, and flavorsome presentation. Hands down, these wings have to be the BEST we’ve ever devoured, which we attribute to the charcoal grill preparation. It’s just something you must experience for yourself.

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Braised Beef Flatbread

The flatbread selections at Rutledge Cab Company are something to talk about. With a rotating menu of various toppings, these thin crust pizza-esque big-enough-for-two-to-share appetizers offer amazing flavor combinations and quite unexpected satisfaction with succulent flair. We indulged in the Braised Beef Flatbread, which possessed a hearty appeal from the charred onions, horseradish, Havarti cheese, and mouthwatering tender braised beef. The slight crunch of the handmade dough was a delightful experience, while the combination of sensational mouthwatering ingredients on top created the perfect flavor experience.

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Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich

The Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich encompassed that homemade meatloaf flavor without that traditional meatloaf calorie count. Made with ground turkey instead of beef, this winning selection was joined by a smoked onion aioli, pepper jelly mustard, and was encased between two thick slices of sourdough bread. I relished in the tastes of sweet and spicy from the jelly and horseradish. And the healthier, yet still hearty turkey meatloaf inside filled that craving for something homemade, yet still remained lighter than most meatloaf recipes.

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Reuben Sandwich

The Reuben Sandwich was something we just had to try. My husband is a stickler for a great Reuben sandwich. And this version was definitely a top scorer with its piled-high corned beef, stringy Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and 1300 sauce all in between fresh slices of hearty rye bread. Can you say “amazing!”  This incredibly flavorful offering was packed full of excellent meaty taste, colorful attributes, and was a memorable “must-order-again” favorite among the items we tried.

An updated piece of history in the Wagener Terrace area of Charleston, Rutledge Cab company will seduce your senses in every way possible with it’s savory flavors, original and unique preparations, and accommodating dinging spaces inside and outdoors.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The indoor space of the restaurant provides upscale casual charm and comfort that would put most anyone at ease. Outdoors, an expansive patio area offers spacious room for mingling with friends and meeting newcomers.
  • FOOD / DRINK: Cuisine like no other. Refreshing provisions from the full service bar, melt-in-your-mouth cuisine selections, and unforgettable flavor, flavor, flavor!
  • LOCATION: Rutledge Cab Company is located at 1300 Rutledge Avenue in Charleston SC 29403.
  • HOURS: Service is available with an all-day / all-night menu Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 midnight, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM until 1:00 AM, and on Sundays from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM. A pretty impressive “Rock the Cab Happy Hour” exists at the expansive bar Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM featuring discounted adult beverages, a Cocktail of the Day, as well as a reasonable bar menu worth trying out.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: It was great to see such a collaborative team amongst the staff. We felt taken care of from the second we walked into the establishment to the time we had to bid adieu.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Pricing for the items we ordered seemed fairly priced for the quality we received. Modern twists on classic favorites as well as original creations impressed our staff.
  • CORKAGE FEE: Outside bottles of wine are permitted at the restaurant for $15 per bottle.
  • PARKING: Complimentary parking is available in a private lot with attended on-sight parking.
  • PRICING: The Upper Manhattans and Middleton Mule cocktails we consumed during Happy Hour were just $8.00 apiece, while the Braised Beef Flatbread was was an easy $10.00. The Charcoal Grilled Chicken Wings came in at a very fair $10 per order and the Reuben Sandwich charmed at $11.00. We also agreed on the quality of the Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich at a reasonable $12.00.

Rutledge Cab Company on Urbanspoon

Rutledge Cab Co.  Restaurant Reviews

* Menu and pricing subject to change without notice.

 

ROSTI TUSCAN KITCHEN… “Montana Avenue’s Casual Italian Eatery!”

 When a craving for authentic Tuscan cuisine takes over, a great place to tame it is one of three west coast-based Rosti Tuscan Kitchens in Southern California. Pronounced “roast-y” the Santa Monica locale reminded us that we didn’t absolutely have to be in Italy to enjoy the aroma of freshly baking bread, signature pasta and secret family recipe sauces, and all things savory involved with impressive Italian favorites sure to keep any food connoisseur pleased.

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Freshly Baked Bread & Free Indoor Corkage

It was a crowded Thursday night. My husband and I contemplated departing with the heavily populated eatery, but decided to wait a few more minutes despite. Before we knew it, the hostess led us to a candlelit romantic table for two window side, and left us with menus and wine glasses for the wine we brought with us until our server would arrive. The ambiance was warm and inviting and heavenly scented with the likes of fresh basil, crushed tomatoes, and pizza dough boldly wafting through the dining room from a busy kitchen in the rear of the establishment.  A crusty warm fresh bread was delivered by our server, Lea, as well as a saucer of extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. This complimented the near perfect bread and made for a great companion to our red wine we began enjoying.

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Chicken Marsala Over Capellini

A sure winner from the pasta selections was the Chicken Marsala over a selection of capellini as a pasta choice. A succulent Marsala sauce including Marsala wine, thinly sliced mushrooms and a sinful inclusion of butter, this signature entree is a popular choice at Rosti, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed each component of this meticulously prepared dish.

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Grilled Marinated Steak Salad

Tender marinated grilled lean steak was cut into slices and served over a bed of shredded Romaine, then graced with Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions and an incredibly succulent basil herb dressing. How much better could this have been prepared? We don’t have an answer to that question because in our line of work, this was pure bliss. The chilled crunch of the crisp lettuce contrasted nicely against the warm tender steak, while the house made dressing brought every bite together in culinary harmony.

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Spinach Ravioli Alfredo Special

The Spinach Ravioli Special with a chosen Alfredo sauce selection and side of house marinara for a minimal additional charge satisfied my hankering for something house made, yet broke all rules of the typical Californian diet. Both filling and satisfying from the first taste to the final bite, this dish of handmade ravioli excellence was stuffed with spinach and covered with a generous portion of homemade Alfredo sauce that hit the spot marvelously!

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Milanese Sandwich On Foccacia

The combination of fresh flavors encompassed within the Milanese Sandwich had us debating whether or not to order an additional one to take home with us. Crafted with hand breaded chicken cutlets, the addition of fresh eye-catching arugula, fresh Mozzarella, tomatoes and a zesty pesto only enhanced the features of this flavorful phenomenon. A choice of 7-grain wheat bread, ciabatta, or fresh baked foccacia was available for our choosing, while a side salad or rosemary potatoes was offered as easily digestible side options.

Feel at home when visiting Rosti Tuscan Kitchen because it is an establishment of delectable Italian cuisine, a cozy ambiance both indoors and on the sidewalk patio, and offers a multitude of seasonal specials and year-round favorites to satisfy those Tuscan food cravings that sneak up on us when we least expect them to. A relaxed lunch or a long romantic dinner will leave you fulfilled and returning soon.

  • ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: The Santa Monica location that we visited sits on a corner projecting it’s mouthwatering aromas past every passer-by. A terrific location along quaint Montana Avenue, a sidewalk patio wraps around the eatery allowing for enjoyment of those crisp fall days or cool California summer evenings. 
  • FOOD / DRINK: Both traditional and updated versions of favorite Italian dishes offer flavorsome alternatives to cuisine types elsewhere. Though no bar is available at this Rosti, personal wines are welcome inside the establishment.
  • LOCATION: This specific Rosti Tuscan Kitchen is located at 931 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, CA 90403.
  • HOURS: Available for lunch and dinner service, hours last from Monday through Thursday and Sundays from 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM, as well as on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 AM until 10:00 PM.
  • SERVICE / STAFF: Our server was Lea, and her professional demeanor was greatly appreciated. She was well-informed, conversational without being overbearing, and possessed a sense of humor that was spectacular.
  • PRICE / VALUE: Acceptable pricing for what was offered, prepared, and presented.
  • CORKAGE FEE: No corkage fee on personal bottles inside the main dining area. Outdoor alcoholic beverage consumption is not permitted.
  • CONTACT INFO: Phone: (310) 393-3236, Website: www.rostituscankitchen.com
  • PARKING: Street parking as well as a private lot are available for the convenience of visiting diners.
  • PRICING: The complimentary corkage was appreciated, while the Chopped Steak Salad Entree was priced at $14.75. The Chicken Marsala over Cappelini was fair at $16.99, while the Spinach Ravioli Alfredo special was prices at an easy $13.25 plus $1.99 for a side of marinara sauce. We also enjoyed the Milanese Sandwich on Foccacia for $11.75.

Rosti Tuscan Kitchen on Urbanspoon

* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.

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.

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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.

Chablis Food + Wine on Urbanspoon

*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.

J. Alexander's on Urbanspoon

* 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.

Bonefish Grill

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.

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

* 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 succumbed 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 au 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: $15 per 750mL bottle.
  • 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.

Shem Creek Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

* 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.

Spahr's Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

* 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.

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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 RESTAURANT… “Blooming With Brilliance!”

Another pleasing dining establishment on popular 300-year-old East Bay Street in Charleston, South Carolina is the modernly-appointed Blossom Restaurant. 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 restaurant 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 & Wednesdays, $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.