Sunday, July 08, 2007

Coney Island Hot Dogs 250 9 St N. St. Petersburg, Florida

When one thinks of Coney Island Dogs, you automatically transport your self to the boardwalk in Atlantic City, where the term originated. However the taste is not confined to that location, one can experience the aroma, taste and delight in Florida. Nestled among the side streets of St Petersburg this establishment has been long serving up a taste just this side of heaven. Now the ambiance is just that of a locally owned and family operated cafe, some seating at the counter, a few booths and the menu, well it serves dogs, and I guess the question is, how many can you eat?
Their recipe is as close to the boardwalk taste as you can get, simmered to a texture and taste that delights every taste bud in your mouth. The dogs are just normal size dogs served between your normal buns, however it is the sauce that tells the story. It takes a real lover of chili dogs to sniff out this eatery. The aroma wafts from the small building as you amble down the sidewalk. As you enter all you can hear is the quite contentment of diners savoring each mouthful of their dogs.
Seasoned with the delicious chili and topped with onins, it offers you a delightful respite from the can of commercially prepared chili offered at your local grocers. As much as you savor each taste and try to ferret out each item in their recipe you cannot help but just sit back and gorge yourself with your dog. As much as one would like to list each ingredient and state the exact cooking time, I cannot. This is a family secret handed down to each generation, and sadly perhaps for the last time.
As with each passing generation, interests vary and children are not content to stay in a family business. As all children do they seek out their own individual fortunes and sadly perhaps to our disadvantage? For its future is in their hands and our only comfort for now is to gladly order up their delicious dogs and enjoy each savory bite

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Woodland Hills, California

Kabuki is set in the style of an oriental Denny’s, booth seating with glass front windows to let the outside in or let you view out. There is seating at the sushi bar to give you that birds eye view of your rolls being created. The decor is not that of your typical oriental establishment, but the flavor of the staff that routinely converse in their particular tongue remind you, you are in deed not in Kansas.
The menu features cold appetizers from tofu, crab rolls, mussels on the half shell, asparagus beef to mention just a few. You have an assortment of salads, around fourteen or so, from seaweed, tuna, octopus, seafood and a yummy vegetarian watercress yuzu salad featuring romaine, watercress, daikon, cucumber, endive and sesame seeds served with yuzu dressing.
They have luncheon specials and dinner from your usual teriyaki beef or chicken tempura, barbecue ribs, pork loin to the more unusual sushi combos and a boat dinner which is ordered for two or more giving you a sampling of the favorites. There is the oriental version of fajitas, the Hibachi Dinner served to you on a sizzling hot plate; you can have beef, chicken or seafood.
There are some special entrees featuring seared tuna, shrimp or scallops and to round it out the soups, noodles and usual sides are offered. I am not much for dessert but marveled at the choices offered, from ice cream, tempura ice cream, napoleon, sorbet and apple tart roll, not too bad.

Last but not least the sushi menu, eighteen Kabuki sushi combinations, twenty two Kabuki roll combos, they have a premium sushi and chefs special of thirty one favorites and eleven types of sashimi available. Choices range from the usual tuna, halibut to snapper, mackerel, smelt egg, sea eel, bean curt to sea urchin. The sashimi offers some unusual items like, giant clam, fatty yellow tail and albacore for a seafood lovers delight.
You can dine in or call in for your order to go, this time we ate in. You are offered edamame at the start of your meal with tea or drink of choice. Our table offered a wide assortment of sushi, rolls, seafood and tasty seafood udon noodle soup, all prepared quite well and presented by knowledgeable staff. The items were all tasty and quite pleasing to the eye, not to forget that you get your moneys worth as the menu is quite generous.

Golden Corral, Pocatello, Idaho

Golden Corral,800 Yellowstone, Pocatello Id
A grill and buffet offers the ability to eat all you want or order a meal. For a modest price you are offered a full salad bar, regular iceberg, romaine and a mix of mescaline greens, all the various accompaniments and the ability to add fresh fruit, cottage cheese, macaroni salad or potato salad. There is a potato bar that offers chili and cheese, broccoli and cheese sauce and for the purest just potato, butter, sour cream and chives.
The grill offers, chicken, meat loaf, pot roast, ham, roast beef, fresh mashed potatoes (not processed) several types of vegetables, fresh sauteed mushrooms and breads and rolls. You are continually toped off on your drinks and there is a dessert bar with pies, pudding, and ice cream to delight just about every one.
You can find your own table and a waitress starts you off with your plates and continually monitors your table taking away used dishes. The atmosphere is light and friendly, basically a busy and a bit noisy family style dining establishment. The food is good quality and flavorful. If you are a big eater this is the place for you, and if you just like a salad I suggest you try their salad bar, you will find just about everything you look for.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brownstone Restaurant, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Located across from the falls this quaint red brick building invites you in to sample its food and to gaze at the gleaming stainless steel and brass brewing kettles. They brew their own beer and offer it proudly to those who have the desire to taste their flavors; you get a generous glass for a modest price.
The menu features a usual assortment of pub style entrees, from sandwiches, fish & chips, hamburgers and a few main course entrees. There is a salad bar for both vegetable and fruit lovers. Seating is on wooden chairs on un-carpeted floors but the noise level is contained.
We sampled four luncheon items, the Reuben Sandwich, which comes with fries, fried shrimp with fries and cole slaw, the chicken sandwich & fries and fish and chips with cole slaw. I might mention that their portions are larger than usual and the fries are the plank type and you get a more than generous portion, crispy and hot. Each item was nicely presented and the quality and textures was suburb.

You have a choice of serving sizes with the fish two or four pieces, I found the two servings along with the slaw and fries was more than enough to satisfy my hunger. The chicken sandwich was a large breast lightly seasoned, served atop a larger than normal size bun, the reuben was served on dark pumpernickel amply stuffed with corned beef. You got four nice sized pieces of shrimp, which were fried to a golden brown and not over done. I need to mention the cole slaw, which does not have the usual heavy mayonnaise type dressing; it was more of a vinaigrette type dressing, which not only cleansed your pallet but also added just the right crunch and coolness to complement your entrée.

The atmosphere is subdued with ample windows to add just the right amount of light. There appeared to be a small stage perhaps for evening music. The staff was courteous and well knowledgeable about their menu items and their suds. Not being big beer drinkers we were offered a taste of the "brew" to see if it meet with our approval.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sandpiper, Bench Road, Pocatello, Idaho.

I have dined at this establishment 5 times this year, each time sampling a different dish and those of my guests. This was my sixth visit and perhaps the most interesting. Having just returned from Las Vegas and enjoyed the cuisine of Le Circ, Top of the World and The Paris. I still had ingrained in my psyche the meaning of quality and service. Sadly this last visit to the Sandpiper left much to be desired. When one orders an alcoholic beverage and specifically asks for a brand name, one would assume that you would be able to taste a difference let alone if any alcohol was present. Not only did my Grey Goose martini lack taste, my daughters Grey Goose & tonic was just tonic.

She took both back to the bar to have them replaced, what she encountered was a rebuff from the bartender who basically told her nothing was wrong with the drinks. She insisted and he finally made two other drinks while my daughter watched. These were "real" drinks and we enjoyed them. We ordered our usual appetizer, which is the hot and spicy calamari, which was superb. If you like it spicy I suggest you try this one. We ordered our entre and both opted for the house salad, now I mention this because as I stated before I have dined at this restaurant many times and know what to expect. This time we got a scant scattering of your basic iceberg lettuce, about 8 small square croutons, one slice of cucumber and a wedge of tomato, nothing to write home about.

They do furnish you with a small loaf of crusty bread and a saucer of seasoned cheese and oil, which as things go is not bad, but not great either. One must consider just what is expected of dunking your bread into a dish of oil and cheese; it’s ok as I stated but not much else.
Our main dishes came not too much later, my daughter got the Ahi Tuna, crusted in Sesame seeds, and I ordered the Hazelnut crusted Halibut with the butter sauce. We both ordered the steamed vegetables. The tuna, although not the usual size of past orders was done as she specified, and my Halibut was just slightly over done, dry but still palatable and considering I was starving, I was going to ignore that part and eat it. However upon forking one green bean from my newly arrived plate, I discovered it was ice cold, as were the other veggies on the dish. Now I usually just pass this off to lousy kitchen staff and will reflect this in my blogs, however my daughter took that one green bean up to the receptionist and had her touch it, her comment was, "That’s ice cold!" Voila. We asked for the manager. By now we were not in the mood to finish our dinner, even though each of us had only taken two bites of the fish. I had ordered a glass of wine. It was a house wine, not bad, and that I did finish.

We met the manager who when informed of our situation, started off my rebuking us by saying, "I don’t think you got bad drinks at all. We make quality drinks here. And secondly, don’t you think your slightly over acting to this, after all things sit and do get cold ?" So, after that rude rebuff, we both told hime we were not paying for the entrees. We told him we would pay for the drinks, and the appetizer but nothing else. He was unpleasant and simply dismissed us with a wave of his hand and the plates. We were presented with our bill and not so much as an apology, or please try something else. The only thing he could do was go and chit chat with the gentleman sitting next to our table and proceeded to ignore us and though we were invisible.
If you are the type to ignore bad quality food and pay the bill, by all means visit and eat, but beware if you voice a concern. I do want to add that the waiting staff were pleasant and were the only delightful thing during that encounter.