Saturday, March 22, 2008

Seattle's Best...

Pronto Pizza
Seattle, WA Delivery

Dude, order us some pizza...

When those words are uttered in Seattle, only one thing can come next... log on to Pronto Pizza... these guys are not your average Domino's.

Personally, I opt for The Mafia and add garlic. You will know when your pizza is coming by the fact that all of your vampire friends will pretty much exit the building in a hurry!

This many stoners in one town, and you know there is the one "killer pizza place"....

Dude... Pronto Pizza is good... Pizza is good... Dude....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Save The Best For Last

1011 Broad St.
Victoria, BC V8W2A1

Why is it that on the last day we are in Victoria, we find the best places to eat? With all of the surly waitstaff in Canada to choose from,
Pagliacci's managed to find good, friendly and attentive folks... who knew that you could?!?

Okay, so the place is not for the claustrophobic. I am not sure if there is any way that you could cram more another table... anywhere! The salads were tolerable (the Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette left me with the odd sticky feeling you find after eating at IHOP) - but I reminded myself that this is Canada and they don't actually know what a good looking head of lettuce looks like, so they got a pass.

Go to Pagliacci's. Forget the ambiance and forget the salad... eat the pasta. In fact, the biggest problem that Diane and I had was choosing which one of the dishes we were going to have (having limited ourselves to only one!). Personally, I had the Hemingway Short Story - a beef filed tortellini with pancetta in a light cream sauce... all I can say is, "Damn, that is some good pasta!" Seriously, it was that good.

Diane had the Little Caesar. If you are looking for a "low garlic" Italian offering, this is not the dish for you. Good vegetables, al dente pasta... although you might want to try the half order unless you are planning on taking some home.

The menu is a read unto itself Babette's Feast, Somerset Praughn... the entry for Diane's dish was:

Little Caesar
Shrimp florentine; mushrooms, pine nuts, spinach, green onions, cream and fontina cheese on fettucine. "Mother of God, is this the end of pasta?"

- and then there is the Mae West -

Mae West

(Finally- a "veal" woman) Veal medallions with artichoke hearts, in lemon, white wine and tarragon. "I been things, and done places. Beulah, peel me a grape."

Need I say more?

Yes, Virginia, there is hope. Eat at Pagliacci's or be damned to all the eternal fires of Victorian dining hell.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Smoke Doesn't Always Mean Fire

After dining at Smokey’s Texas BBQ, 172 Lackawanna Drive, Byram, New Jersey, there is one question burning in our minds.... has Smokey ever actually BEEN to Texas? We’re thinking probably not.

The first clue was the saguaro cactus in all of the murals on the acid yellow walls. Maybe they meant Arizona BBQ?? The second clue was the powdered iced tea (at $2.75 A GLASS); they shoot you in Texas for serving powdered ice tea and in any REAL BBQ restaurant tea refills are free. Third clue…. Smokey’s serves mostly PORK BBQ… WHAT?? Texas… home of BIG CATTLE RANCHES… Not pig farms. Texas barbeque is BEEF!

As for the details…the pork bbq ribs were tasty but not exceptional. The brisket sandwich was good – particularly the bun, which held up to the extra sauce. Speaking of sauce… when asked for some more the waitress looked quizzically and asked “barbeque sauce”?? Um no honey, we were really thinking we’d like some hollandaise with that… Ah huh… The sweet potato side was very good but the coleslaw and potato salad were totally flavorless. The service was in keeping with the rest of it… hit or miss and definitely not Texas style.

Maybe Smokey will make it to a real Texas BBQ place some day – we can recommend a few, but until then the only thing Texan about Smokey’s is the name on the door.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Band of Banderas

It is nice to be back in the world of good food, good service and an ambience that adds to the dining experience...

3821 N Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Only one word comes to mind when I think of Bandera: excellent. Although we had a bit of a time parking in Old Scottsdale, and there was a few minutes wait, the experience was worth it. In fact, the biggest problem with the waiting time was the fantastic smell, which made 5 minutes seem like an eternity. Talk about your Pavlovian Response....

Rachel, our server, promptly greeted us - such a little thing, but something that is a rarity these days. In fact, as I sat there watching the staff, I realized that they had another quality that you just don't find in many restaurants - teamwork. It was amazing to see how well the servers worked together to make all of their jobs more efficient.

Let me take a moment to mention one of my pet peeves, the empty glass. I can make quite a few "allowances", if only my glass is full through the whole meal. The Bandera crew was AMAZING in this area. All of the staff teamed together - a server who had the section next to ours brought me an iced tea... none of the "its not my table" attitude. I was floored. I was never without a half full glass. This is one of the greatest accomplishments I have seen in the food service industry in quite a few years. Even if the food was less-than-stellar, which it wasn't, I would come back.... and THAT is saying something.

Our "Dip Duo" appetizer featured a wonderful Chipoltle Pimento sauce - highly recommended. Diane had the lamb sandwich, which was cooked to perfection. I went with a slightly less carnivorous selection... One warning here: vegetarians need not apply. Bandera is all about meat. Diane's cole slaw, with its peanut oil seasoning, was worth the price of admission and the sweet croutons in my salad were notable - something you rarely say about a piece of stale bread! Sadly, we were too full for desert...

Professional staff, nice decor, FANTASTIC service, melt-in-your-mouth-good food and the smell... oh, the smell.... enough to convert a patchouli wearing vegan into a carnivore.... Bandera gets a 9.5.

We will be back.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

On The Road Again

One year, one month and four days later, I return to the scene of the crime. Diane and I have been busy moving back to Arizona, remodeling the house and - as usual - finding the good, the bad and the very, very ugly.... as far as food goes, that is.

Our adventures have taken us South of the Border to La Reforma in Agua Prieta, Sonora... to Phoenix's Biltmore for Sam's Cafe... Marathon, Texas gave us Valentine's dinner at the Gage Hotel's Cafe Cenizo... To Sunland Park, New Mexico for the State Line BBQ.... Corrales, New Mexico for the Village Pizza... the Rocking V in Kanab, Utah... and even local Bisbee attractions such as Cafe Roka, Santiago's and the High Desert Market.

For the bad side (you know there has to be one), there was some random Mongolian BBQ place in Tucson that was not even good enough to remember the name... and we didn't have to go far for the very, very, very ugly - Bisbee's own Banditos and Lawmen.

We are starting out on the "Big Adventure" of 100% travel. So, stay tuned... we are back... and better than ever....