Monday, December 22, 2008

Chapala Mexican Restaurant

Chapala Mexican Restaurant, 117 West Burnside, Chubbuck Idaho

Clean, bright and nice atmosphere. American/Mexican décor with soft Mexican music.

Salsa was spicy enough to ask for water, bean dip was mild with not too much spice/flavor. A very broad menu with a variety of normal fare and the not so normal. Chicken mole, Chicken Caritas, Arrow con Polo, 9 Shrimp entrees, three Shrimp & Crab. Regular and small portions, 5 salad options, 24 combo plates, offering a vegetarian burrito and tostada to Soppitos and Huevos Machaca.

Regular size portions are just that, enough for the big eater, enough to share with a friend, or the usual take home box. Nice flavor and texture with distinct aromatics.

Served on heated oval platters, with a nice arrangement, not heaped together but with enough space to see what you are eating. The sauce was enough to flavor the entrée but not enough to drown it out or cover the rest of the platter.

Regular drinks, and Shirley temples, Roy Rogers, Jarritos. Beer and alcohol free beer and a 12 oz margarita for $3.50 that is very pleasant.

Offering a lunch menu and also a generous appetizer list they also include your normal al a carte items at a modest price. A modest dessert menu and your first two bowls of chips, salsa and bean dip are on the house.

Prices range from $5.00 to 13.00 with most in the mid range of 8-9 dollars. You get allot for your money and the staff are polite and attentive. Located right off the freeway at the Yellowstone/Chubbuck exit easy off, easy on. Closed on Sunday

Revisit - Remo’s of Pocatello

Remo’s of Pocatello, 160 West Cedar, Pocatello, Id. 83201
October 2008
Wednesdays 5:00pm 9:00pm SUSHI
I have blogged about Remo’s general menu, this is a separate blog on their SUSHI presentation each Wednesday evening. They have a pleasant starter (appetizer menu) Miso Soup, Seaweed Salad, Edamame, an interesting fare called Ahi Fries with Asian Aioli. Your usual Tempura Vegetable platter and Pan seared Ahi Tuna Carpaccio. Prices are from $3.95 to $9.95.

There are 22 separate rolls available, but none feature truly raw fish, they are all slightly seared with the exception of the following two: Ahi Tuna Roll and the Las Vegas. They feature several that are fried in a Tempura type batter, some are traditional with a seaweed wrapper, and some are rice rolls (inside out).

A somewhat sweet fare is the Inari, bean curd pouches stuffed with rice and Kampyo served with a sweet and spicy sauce. The sauce does not deflect the sweetness of this item; however for a breakfast item (which is where our leftovers went) it is absolutely wonderful. Add a little chili paste to the sauce and it’s fantastic.

They offer a soft shell Crab, King Crab, Scallop and seasoned Sirloin combination of rolls. Two items offer you the choice of items added to the roll, and the combination of 5 sauces to accompany them. Sweet and Spicy, Asian Aioli, Gingered Soy, Siracha Aioli and Sweet Chili. The rolls feature the usual items, avocado, cucumber, carrot, onion etc. An interesting roll is the Chef’s special, which includes smoked salmon, shrimp, Siracha, fresh jalapeno, cream cheese and soy paper. You can also substitute soy paper for an additional cost per roll of $1.00.

Served with the traditional sides of Wasabi and Gari it is a genuine attempt to offer Sushi to the general public without a direct assault on their taste buds. Truly these are an offering of good rolls but tailored to the non educated pallet. For those who want to experience “strange oriental food” this is a good place to start, the subtle flavors and mild aroma’s and the easy taste combinations let the novice diner taste a new and exciting world of food.

Hopefully they will thirst for more and begin to roll their own rolls, to which there is no end of possibilities.

El Jacalito 5th Ave, Pocatello, Idaho

Open 7 days and most holidays, very casual dining atmosphere. Once the home of a Greek fast food eatery, El Jacalito has not spent a great deal on decorations but they do spend allot of time on their food.

They offer a nice variety of appetizers along with the usual chip and salsa for each table. The salsa’s consistency is more liquid than I like but has a nice taste and would appeal to the taste buds of most patrons. A choice of 5 salads, including your usual dinner salad one with shrimp, chicken avocado, chili Verde and taco surprise. I mention this because there are some among us who would like a salad and skip the beans and rice and this is a nice choice.

They of course feature a nice children’s menu with 4 Mexican dishes, a hamburger, chicken strips and pizza. They offer Caldos (soups) 7 choices, Huevos (eggs) 7 also and your usual combination plates, 14 total. Separate enchilada specials 9 in all, Los Doraditos (crispy ones) featuring taquitos, flautas, chimichangas. Not to forget sizzling fajitas, and tostadas to round out their menu.

Carne asada, chili Verde, caritas, steak picado and 15 Del Mar (seafood ) choices, featuring fish tacos, seafood enchilada, seafood nachos, garlic shrimp etc. A la carte items including French fries, non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. And their specialty of iced tea infused with cranberry juice. And let’s not forget Postres (desserts), you can order chocolate chip ice cream, flan, deep fried ice cream or banana Vallarta.

They have an all you can eat buffet on the weekend featuring the usual and some unusual items each weekend. The staff are friendly and attentive and the food suburb, owned by local residents they have been in operation for just over a year and offer a nice variety from your usual chain type Mexican food. They are passionate about cooking traditional regional dishes they learned from their parents and it shows. You get generous portions at modest prices and can also order to take out.

Gustav’s Pub and Grill - Portland Airport

My biggest pet peeve is not being able to sit down in a nice place, relax and enjoy some good food when traveling. When my flight stopped over in Portland I found and thoroughly enjoyed this Pub featuring German food. They have a nice bar with a good selection of hard liquor, wine and beer. You can sit at the bar or relax at a table and be waited on, which is quite nice after being crammed in a seat sized for a toddler and wedged between two line backers, well you know what I am talking about.

It is open fronted to afford the passer by to see what they have to offer, but the lighting is dimmed to allow you to relax and not remain wired. Now they are not a “restaurant” but a pub and offer pub food. Per it’s name, it’s classic German type offerings from soup to sandwiches. They offer Bavarian Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Munich Sausage, smoked Bier Sausage with Lentil soup and cheese bread.

Of course you can also opt for the usual French dip sandwich, classic bacon cheeseburger, grilled Reuben or smoked turkey sandwich. The early passenger can have a real breakfast of French toast, a Denver scramble, a lo carb breakfast or a Bavarian hunters plate, that comes with a plump chicken breast lightly grilled and topped with bacon and melted cheddar cheese and served with two eggs, German fried potatoes and toast. Sure beats McDonalds and the prices are modest the Hunter’s plate is only $9.99.

They have three salad offerings, a Caesar Salad, Waldorf chicken salad and the house salad with fresh greens, julienne beets and diced cucumber and choice of dressing including balsamic vinaigrette. When you order the sandwich offerings they include your choice of kettle chips, seasoned fries or a tomato cucumber salad. Now since I had a shorter than normal layover I did not want to stuff my self so I ordered light, the grilled chicken sandwich which is served on a toasted Kaiser roll with herb cream cheese, grilled onions, red and green peppers on a bed or red leaf lettuce.

Grilled to perfection the taste was succulent as it was not dried out but moist, the cream cheese added another depth of flavor and the aroma of the grilled onions mingled with the peppers to give that needed crunch and taste to complete the experience. I selected the seasoned fries which were cooked to a nice golden brown and served “hot”. A generous portion of chicken and fries enough for a large eater and more than enough for the smaller eater and even enough for an in flight snack since they also offer to go containers.

They have four locations, Portland (two locations), Clackamas and Vancouver, WA. Well worth looking for if your taste buds are looking for a wake up call.

Oliver's, Pocatello, Idaho

If you are a vegetarian, traveling with one or just would like the option of selection, then Oliver’s is the place for you. They were the forerunners of vegetarian food back in the 80’s and served up perhaps the first garden burger, of course made fresh.

The vegetarian lunch fare includes humus sandwich, a grilled eggplant parmesan sandwich, vegetarian chili, lentils and lentil stew. Dinner features spaghetti, a garden burger dinner, spinach cheese ravioli, steamed fresh vegetables, hot chili pasta or a homemade vegetarian lasagna.

They offer classic diner food, 36 sandwich choices along with15 hot sandwich combos. Dinner includes fried chicken, chicken fried steak, meatloaf, chicken strips, fish and chips and spaghetti; let’s not forget the pot roast, baron of beef or turkey. A complete breakfast menu and a few not so traditional offerings, Huevos rancheros, boneless trout and eggs, vegetarian Huevos and my personal favorite, hummus and harpers brand toast and eggs.

Several choices of salads from a classic house or a salmon supreme, chicken salad, or the famous Cobb and a nice fruit and veggie plate. They offer a diner selection of sodas, ice tea and coffee and even a vanilla or cherry coke or beer and wine. The dessert menu offers ice cream floats, ice cream, banana splits, cheese cake, pies, carrot cake to home made cookies and brownies.
A classic diner motif with booths and counter seating they also have a dining room for a more quite eating experience or for larger groups. Oliver’s offers catering for business lunches, seminars, picnics wedding receptions. They have a brown bag special for working person. This box lunch special includes a sandwich a choice of vegetable salad or fresh fruit, potato chips or hard egg, a fresh baked cookie or home made brownie or carrot cake. And they deliver.

The food is homemade quality and the emphasis is on freshness, they have been a corner stone in the community for decades. If you want truly good food, friendly service and good prices, then Oliver’s is your place. Come hungry leave your business card perhaps you can be the lucky winner of a free meal.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

College - Idaho Falls, Idaho

College in Idaho Falls, Id November 2008

Located in the historic old town section of Idaho Falls, just a block from the falls; College offers “ingredients and techniques from around the world”. A small dining area offers intimate conversation but also can accommodate parties of 6 or larger. They have an impressive wine list to be purchased by the glass or bottle.
First courses include Yukon Gold potato chips with melted gorgonzola cheese or a pouch of goat cheese with pistachios and port soaked cherries and figs, or perhaps some smoked duck of foire gras on grilled Texas toast to name a few.
Second courses offer a traditional Caesar salad, or an organic mixed field green salad or maybe a homemade lobster bisque and of course the soup du jour.
Entrees include grilled filet of beef, braised Colorado lamb shanks, oven roasted quail, lobster ravioli or fresh fish of the day. You can also dine on locally raised buffalo rib eye with pinot sage jus or they offer a vegetarian creation upon request. Prices start for first course at $7.50-`$13.00, second courses start at $7.00 -$9.00 and entrees are from $17.00 to $34.00 with the fish at market price. To round out the dinner you can opt for a selection of three sides of curried vegetable couscous, petite beans or roasted corn and cilantro mash.
You are welcomed by an amuse bouche creation of the chef to start your palate thirsting for more. We sampled the Yukon Gold potato chips and large shrimp sautéed with garlic, shallot and basil. Both courses were delicious, the chips with the melted cheese was a unique combination and created a taste sensation for your mouth. The shrimp snapped when bitten and the garlic shallot infusion with the basil created a wonderful aroma and taste treat. Second course we chose the Caesar salad, although not dressed at table side it still represented a good Caesar.
Entrees included the braised lamb shank, which you could cut with a fork and the taste with the cumin yogurt was superb. I must mention that the shank its self was of good size and satisfied my son’s appetite. I chose the special of the day which was a wild mushroom stroganoff which I whole heartedly enjoyed. The entrees are large enough to satisfy most appetites but you can always add one of the sides to round out your meal.
College offers “Passport Dinners” the chef’s choice from various countries, perhaps an Italian night or maybe a Latin flavored offering. These usually run around $45.00 per person and although reservations are not necessary you must call to secure a place for the evening. You can come anytime during normal dinner seating. These dinners are from early spring through summer only.