Archive for the ‘seafood’ Tag

Good eats in Maine   Leave a comment

Part of the fun of traveling is enjoying cuisine specific to the area visited. So, when in Maine that means fresh seafood.

We had some excellent meals and others best be described as meh; nothing special. I’ll focus on the former.

To say Red’s Eats in Wiscasset draws a crowd is an understatement. The line to order wrapped around the block and movement was negligible. Sprague’s Lobster, across the street, overlooking the Sheepscot River had plenty of full picnic tables, but the line was only a few people deep. There we ordered a lobster roll with drawn butter on the side and fries. The toasted hot dog bun was hidden beneath large pieces of fresh, sweet and slightly briny lobster. It was a great start to our vacation.

If ever on U.S. Highway 1, which closely follows the coast (although it’s mostly hidden by dense woods), fresh-baked goods are worth a stop at Dot’s Market in Lincolnville.

A full lobster dinner at West Street Café in Bar Harbor was just what I’d been anticipating. Unlike many restaurants, market prices were provided without having to ask. My “Downeast Special” included clam chowder, a 1-1/4 pound lobster, slaw and blueberry pie.

The Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery in Northeast Harbor had another of my favorites: scallop and lobster bake. Not particularly beautifully plated, this was a combo of 1/3 lobster pieces and too many rich, creamy scallops to count cooked in butter and topped with cracker crumbs. Mixed together it created a sweet/savory gravy.

Perks and Pinot   Leave a comment

Full disclosure: my husband and I were (unaffiliated/independent) guests at the newly opened Jax. We were treated to small plates, cocktails and  the Jax brand pinot noir from the Willamette Valley.

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar may be new on the block, but this restaurant is no youngster. Downtown Colorado Springs is the newest locale for the Big Red F Restaurant Group, which independently owns and operates Jax.

Jax chef

In addition to tasting several Happy Hour dishes, we were introduced to Dana Query, wife of owner Dave Query who opened the first Jax in Boulder in 1995, Sheila Lucero, executive chef/owner, and Alan Henkin, beverage director. All shared insights about Jax. Although this was interesting and appreciated, it was overshadowed by the food, both in taste and plating.

It’d be a shame, or perhaps a sin, not to have oysters at an oyster bar and wanting to avoid regrets, I happily indulged. The two sauces were almost superfluous. Almost.

Jax tostadaThe tostada with kimchi, avocado and charred tomatoes on a brittle corn tortilla; calamari with a wake-up-the-sinuses mango chili sauce; meaty crab cake not obscured by breadcrumbs or fillers and ahi tuna poke over rice are exactly the kind of appetizers I would order again and again – even when footing the bill.

Jax poke

The poke was a particular favorite thanks to its fresh flavors augmented by roasted spiced cashews, serrano peppers and avocado. However, the dish we specifically requested may have been my favorite: shrimp and grits. Crispy fried shrimp nestled together on a bed of creamy, cheesy grits was a union of texture and taste.

It wasn’t necessary to do anything special to impress me, the food did that on its own.

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
11 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO

Mas Que Tacos II   Leave a comment

Among the surprises during a recent visit to Mexico City was the variety of food. I should have known that cosmopolitan Cuidad de Mexico (CDMX) would be well-represented by cuisines from around the world.

Pizzas Nosferatu has virtually no inside seating, but it’s fun to sit outside with an unobstructed view of the gourmet pies being made. The joven who took our order was friendly and, indeed, young. The thin-crusted pizzas are served on round slabs of wood. The beers available next door were astounding in the quality and variety. We enjoyed the namesake Nosferatu with spinach, ricotta, herbs and fresh ginger. The Henry with pepperoni, onion and tomato was also tasty.

cervesa

Pulled pork and smoked brisket are not foods I associate with Mexico. Now I know better. I can’t wait to return to Porco Rosso Roma. The different spins on beans (spicy frijoles) and onion rings were a treat. Sorry no photos. Next time, though.

We enjoyed breakfast at trendy Delirio Monica Patino. Here the traditional molletes (thick slices of toast topped with melted cheese and beans) had a twist: Greek olive tapanade rather than a tomato-based salsa.


My pesto at Trattoria Giocovanni was a lighter version than what I had in Italy, but the lasagna was pure Italiano.

mexicocityfish

White, mild fish, at Contramar, was exceptional both in its presentation and flavor. Half was coated with a red dried chili rub and the other half with a parsley rub. The tuna tostados and the desserts rivaled the entrees.

mexicocitydesserts

 

 

Bar & Grill is Less & More   Leave a comment

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The Clement Street Bar & Grill in San Francisco’s Richmond District creates an inauspicious initial impression. It’s dark, older and, at first glance, the menu, in a plastic sleeve, features a scattered array of offerings. Thankfully, first impressions aren’t always right.

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We dined at CSB&G to commemorate my oldest son’s graduation for his master’s from the University of San Francisco. The bar made it possible for us to raise our glasses in celebration, and the grill provided entrees to make it special. Our guest of honor selected Salmon glazed in an orange vinaigrette. The grilled-to-perfection fish was showcased by the tanginess of the glaze. I had the Black Truffle Porcine Mushroom Ravioli. The earthy blend in the light pasta pillows was rich and satisfying. Other dishes included the Pasta with Scallops and Shrimp in a rich wine base; a well-grilled New York Steak; Fettucine with Chicken; and Pork Tenderloin with a cranberry chutney. Everyone one at our table was pleased.

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Nonetheless, we wanted dessert — in large part because we couldn’t ignore the tantalizing offerings: Key Lime Pie, Creme Brulee, Banana Cream Pie with Black Bottom Crust and Fresh Blackberry Pie. Unfortunately, the temptations fared better on the menu than they did in reality. The caramel shell over the Creme Brulee was too thick; it overpowered the otherwise well-executed vanilla custard underneath. The pies were fine, but not exceptional.

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Our eyes adjusted to the comfortable setting, we enjoyed our meal, and things weren’t as dark or old as they first appeared. I can only hope the same can be said of me.

Clement Street Bar & Grill
Four Plates
708 Clement St.
San Francisco, Calif