Friday, December 30, 2011

The Bridge Wine Bar & Restaurant - Pocatello

The Bridge Wine Bar & Restaurant
815 S 1stPocatello, ID 83201
(In Kingport Junction)
December 30, 2011

Hummus PlatterIt is a thrill when I can spend time with one of my three children, and tonight was one such event; my eldest son had invited me to join him at a new bistro in Pocatello called The Bridge. It’s located in historic down town Pocatello on 1st street, nestled among turn of the century buildings The Bridge is a beacon in the effort to bring life into the once abandoned warehouse district.
At first glance one might drive buy since this eatery is actually situated inside a fish market and once occupied co-op market. Once past the lack of glamour one enters into an historic pristine wooden floor area with over 100 year old brick walls and an open acoustic ceiling. Walking past the fish market you are greeted by a cute hostess who quickly seats you. If it’s not busy you have your choice of where you want to sit, near the rear door to see outside, near the open kitchen so you can observe the chefs in action making their menu creations, near the main door more secluded, or perhaps on the upper level reserved for the overflow crown. The tables are square but afford ample room for four to dine in cChicken Picattaomfort.
I picked the table closest to the al fresco door; mid winter it still afforded a glimpse of the outside terrace and the drizzling rain coming down in swift swirls before the wind force of our eminent snow storm. It was a magical moment; the glimmering lights dancing off the rain soaked patio gave the impression of a fairy tale land. Our waiter soon appeared with menus in hand and asked if we wanted something from the wine/bear menu. We were not quite ready to order our main entrees so opted for the Hummus and pita bread appetizer. Being closely acquainted with Middle Eastern food I was looking forward to the usual hummus style dip, but to my surprise this was something different.
The hummus was the chick peas ground with some spices but without the infusion of garlic, instead you found the minced concoction sitting atop of the generous mound of hummus. On first taste one experienced actual chick pea flavor and not until you added a bit of the garlic did you then identify the usually over infused garlic laden chick pea creation.
Shrimp Pad ThaiWe were served several slices of a baguette with oil, a reduction of what I thought was a plum sauce and grated cheese. My son and I found this to be very tasty and to our liking. I had ordered a bottle of wine a Gascon Malbec and it provided a fruity and flavorful addition not only to our appetizers but to our entrees as well.
I ordered the Chicken Picatta and my son ordered the Shrimp Pad Tai, both of our dishes were beyond expectations. My Chicken was moist and succulent with the wine reduction and capers reaching a harmonious blending to melt in your mouth. My vegetables were roasted to al dente, but crisp and tender to the mouth. My sons Pad Tai was abounding with flavor, the shrimp were plump and moist the sauce was pungent with just the right amount of aromatics and chili’s to make your taste buds demand more.
Truly a dining delight and one must not forget that this eatery is nestled among abandoned warehouses and long forgotten rail road tracks. One can only hope that this small resurgence of dining The Wine - a Gascon Malbeccontinues and Pocatello residents can experience more cultural master pieces as this. Lest one forget than humble beginnings great restaurants make. The wait staff is suburb and know their menu’s to a tee and offer sound and point advice to guide you to a dining experience beyond expectations. A limited but good menu with reasonable prices will provide most all diners with a choice of fare.
I rate The Bridge at a 9 and expect to see them grow and expand with taste delights to tempt the most sophisticated pallet and the inexperienced to heights never before achieved. Bravo and I hope to taste more in the future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chili's - Pocatello, ID and others...

Terlingua Chili and Cheese.

Pocatello, Idaho
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Ogden, Utah

Another fixture of malls among other places is the Chili’s Restaurants and their trademark Chili Pepper sign. A good advertising ploy since the “chili pepper” can be seen well before you can actually spot the restaurant. As with all national chains, their exterior save for a few plants is the same across the nation and the menu items offered are exactly alike. The interior has open ceilings so the din of the diners does carry. So if you dine at one you dine in all, but to be fair you need to try more than one to establish this.

Pulled Pork Sandwich.They have a full service bar and I’m sure I won’t be the first to tell Chili’s staff knows how to mix some pretty nice drinks. Perhaps the drinks more so than the food is why I tried out three establishments to make sure about the chain. I didn’t find their food to be exceptional, not bad but not fantastic either. To me it all had the same taste to each item I sampled; perhaps it was their signature blend of spices applied to all their food. I suspect the wide appeal is to persons who have never been acquainted to the symphony of flavor of Southwestern cooking and cuisine

I samMolton Chocolate Cake, it makes Chili's worth a stop for dessert.pled a chicken dish (Guiltless Grilled Chicken Sandwich, with tomato, lettuce and non-fat honey-mustard dressing on a wheat bun. Served with steamed broccoli.$8.29. There was way too much bun and I did not like the honey mustard sauce as I am not a sweet sauce person. It was OK but I would not order it again.).

Another sampling was the BBQ pulled pork sandwich (With crispy onion strings on a sesame seed or wheat bun. Served with coleslaw and original BBQ sauce. $7.99); again, on wheat bun which again was way too much bun and again the taste reminded me of every other item on Chili’s menu. It was OK but would not order it again if given the choice.

I samAppetizer chips to help sooth a sometimes very long wait.pled the Chili topped with cheese (Terlingua Chili – Slow-cooked chili with beef, onions and chilies, topped with cheese. From $2.69 a cup with entrĂ©e to $4.99 a bowl ala carte.) As before, it was OK, but there is something about the predominate seasonings at Chili’s that makes me think the dishes are all the same thing just with different wrappers, However, I must add that their coleslaw was delicious as was their loaded mashed potatoes, of which I could have had thirds on both.

I also have had the opportunity to sample a fish dish and their black bean burger and all had the same distinct taste of spices, and I found I needed to drink more water than normal so I could sample the dishes of my sons to judge fairly about the taste and textures of their dishes.

TheThe Chili's Cheeseburger, they do manage to get this one right.y offer a wide range of entrees and sides and I am sure they offer just about something for everyone, just not me. Each person has their own taste preferences and sadly Chili’s is not to my liking. Those dishes that my two sons and daughter had were to their liking and so I must say that their tastes must rule here.

Chili’s gives you nice size servings some with reduced calorie/fat contents but the majority is your traditional food chain fare, gooey, yummy and loaded with calories. But for an occasional day out, they provide a nice break from the ordinary food chain taste and give you a sampling of The Caesar side salad, although a bit light, makes a good pairing with the tortilla soup.American Southwestern cooking. They offer children’s portions, steaks, burgers, seafood, Southwestern style Mexican, chicken entrees, their famous baby back ribs, sandwiches and soup and salads rounding off the list. They offer bottle water, soft drinks, a chillin’fruit freezer, coffee and tea (their Bottomless Beverages) and again a wonderful bar, featuring mixed drinks, beer and wine, which they are very proud of.

Complete your meal with Molten Chocolate Cake (Topped with vanilla ice cream under a hard cThe Totilla Soup is surprisingly good.hocolate shell $6.29), cheesecake (Served over strawberry sauce $5.49) or a thick and tasty chocolate shake ($3.99).

They are open 7 days a week but closed most major holidays.