Friday, January 28, 2011

The Majestic Grille

When I told people I was going to Memphis, the reaction was generally that the pork would be wasted on me. Umm okay.  The woman who checked us in recommended that we dine at The Majestic Grille.  It was a short walk from our hotel which was good, but unfortunately the food wasn’t.  I was excited for my appetizer the Cajun Chicken Eggrolls.

It was massive though so my first lesson in Memphis food was the portions are large.  The rolls were filled with blackened chicken, corn, cheddar, goat cheese, red onion, cilantro and Creole mustard sauce.  I was quite happy with it, but didn’t finish it.  I decided to try something different for my entrée.

I don’t know what I was thinking but I decided to order the Shrimp and Scallop Linguini.  I think I got excited about the shrimp and scallop but completely ignored the roasted tomato cream.  I despise cream sauce. I don’t do alfredo or any other creamy sauce. It was gross. I had a couple of bites and quit. Unfortunately, several hours later, I got to taste it again L  My abs got quite the work out that night L Luckily my room came equipped with Tazo tea, which helped to soothe my tummy.

Nothing against The Majestic Grille but your food was not that delicious.  Maybe I made the wrong choices on the menu, but I think there was really nothing special about the food.  The restaurant did have a film being projected on the wall which was pretty cool.  Generally though, I’m sure there are better options in Memphis.  I’d skip this one.

Hungry yet?   

Majestic Grille on Urbanspoon

The Westin Memphis Beale Street

Many meals have come and gone since my last post.  Alas I’ve been working EV-ER-Y-DAY.  LITERALLY. I’ve been chained to my desk essentially every day, but I did take a quick work trip down to Memphis.  I was hoping I’d get time to look around maybe visit the Lorraine Hotel, a museum or two and of course Graceland.  I should have known better.  14 hour workdays doesn’t really allow for much in the way of museum visits.  At least I stayed at a pretty sweet hotel!  Generally I heart Starwood hotels. Westin only comes second to W hotels.  I checked into the Westin Memphis Beale Street on Monday night.  The lobby is expansive and offers lots of seating space.  The hotel is located directly across the street from FedEx Forum so I imagine it must get pretty busy in there.  My room was standard but well done.

The king bed which I only slept in for about 8 hours between two nights L was extremely comfortable and I wish I spent more time tucked in there.  The floating night stands were pretty cool and the ipod dock was a plus.  The desk is where I spent most of my time. 

The chair was comfortable enough to sit in for 5 hours the night I arrived.  The room is also equipped with an arm chair, but I used it to store the many binders I brought with me so I don’t know how comfortable it was.  It was definitely sturdy though!  The bathroom was very spacious. Initially I was disappointed when all I saw was a shower.

Although the double shower head was a plus.  Once I opened the door all the way, I saw there was also a tub! Sweeet. 

Although I didn’t actually use it, I just don’t think it’s right to have a bathroom without a tub.  The business center was also very nice. They have 3 computers, a desk to plug in your own laptop and a printer! Sorry left my camera in my room so no pictures.

I wish I had more time to relax at the hotel, because it definitely seems conducive to just that. They didn’t have a spa which was a bit of a disappointment but it’s not like I would have had time to go.  I may be returning to Memphis pretty soon and hopefully I’ll be staying here again.  The hotel restaurant was fantastic, but more on that later!  I must say the entire time I was there, all I could think about was this song...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brasserie Ruhlmann

In this crazy hectic work week that I’ve had – don’t even want to talk about how many hours I billed L - I did have the opportunity to have a quick lunch at Brasserie Ruhlmann.  I’ve noticed this restaurant each time I walk through Rockefeller Center but never thought about going in.  I’m glad the opportunity presented itself!

The lunch menu is pretty extensive.  I had a hard time placing an order because there were a few things that looked great.  I decided to start with the mix green salad.

I’m not a big fan of salads because typically I find that they don’t contain much substance and eating that many leaves exhausts me, then I realize I’m still hungry but too tired to eat.  This one wasn’t so bad.  It contained radishes, red onion and cherry tomatoes.  It was really the mustard dressing that brought this all together.  Salads are best as appetizers because that certainly didn't fill me up.  The best part of my meal was the Saumon a l’oseille.

A pan seared Scottish salmon with sorrel, creme fraiche and whipped potatoes.  The salmon was incredible. It’s been a while since I’ve had salmon.  I figure I know how to make it at home so why order it when I’m out.  I realize now how much I missed it.  The sauce was also really delicious.  I was of course skeptical as I often am of white sauces, but I was a big fan of this one.  Since I had to rush back to work I skipped dessert.  Such a shame too, I was craving crème brulee. 

Hungry yet?

Brasserie Ruhlmann on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Red Rooster Harlem

After months of anticipation waiting for them to open and weeks of anticipation for Ms. J’s return so I could finally go, I went to Red Rooster.  ::sigh:: Chef Samuelsson definitely made my night when he came over to greet us while we waited for our table.  He also stopped by our table after we were seated.  Red Rooster is beautiful.  The bar area has a couple of high tables where I could certainly see myself eating if I don’t get a reservation or just needed a quick fix of something delicious.  The main dining area is sprawling yet the warm colors make it feel like an intimate setting.  Considering we didn’t have reservations and it was only week 3, I was impressed by how quickly we were seated. 

Although the menu is pretty straight forward, there were several options and I had a hard time deciding.  Eventually, we decided to start with the Corn Tacos and Tostadas Ceviche.

Those little guys are topped with yellowtail, salmon and avocado with a small red onion to finish it off.  The tacos and tostadas were crisp and had some spice to them, which was a welcome surprise.  The fish was properly “cooked” and had a nice tart taste.  My only complaint was that they disappeared so quickly!  Our entrées definitely took a while to arrive, but we had a slight mix up which also played a roll.  Ms. A ordered the Shrimp & Red Grits.

It was an impressive display and certainly didn’t look like any shrimp & grits I’ve ever seen.  The combination of shrimp, basil and sausage was welcomed by Ms. A, but the poached egg was immediately removed.  Ms. J ordered the Hearth Baked Mac and Greens.

The display was beautiful – I truly do love personal sized dishes.  The Mac & Greens are made with Gouda, NY Cheddar and Comte.  Ms. J was not too impressed because apparently there was a lack of salt in the dish.  It tasted fine to me, but she was right about the salt. I didn't get a chance to sample the greens but they looked fun! 

She loved her side of black vinegar cauliflower. I didn't get a chance to try it but she was raving about it.

I couldn’t have been happier with my Fried Yard Bird. 

It was served with White mace gravy, hot sauce and shake.  Shake is a tin of seasoning that is pretty amazing.  The chicken  was crispy but the inside was extremely juicy.  The hot sauce is spread on the plate and I didn’t realize that’s what it was until I dipped into it.  It was incredible. I would definitely buy that sauce if they bottled it up. I was initially concerned that it wasn’t going to be enough, but I was quite satisfied with the portion.  I also tried the black-eyed peas. 

They were well seasoned and a welcome accompaniment to my chicken, but I would have preferred if it was served with a little less liquid.  Of course we had to leave room for dessert.  All the desserts were incredible and I can’t even begin to adequately convey how fabulous they tasted.  I highly recommend that you try as many as you can.  Ms. J ordered the Whiskey Fudge with macadamia nuts.

It didn’t photograph as well as it should have and the portion seemed a little small, but Ms. J made a good choice because it was quite rich.  Ms. A had the Sweet Potato Doughnuts with cinnamon sugar, creme fraiche and vanilla bean ice cream.

Wow sugar on a platter - awesome!  The doughnuts were actually filled with sweet potato goodness.  I would have loved to try more of Ms. A’s dessert, but was too busy enjoying my delectable Black and White Mud.

OMG definitely the best dessert EVER.  If you’re looking for chocolate heaven, this is the fastest way there! I will definitely take a trip to Red Rooster just for another slice. The combination of black and white was made even better with that amazing crust and the sea salt.

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Red Rooster’s menu, but wish I could have ordered many more items.  Dirty rice & shrimp, red snapper and crab cakes – I’ll be back for you.  Thank you Chef Samuelsson for bringing such a wonderful restaurant into the neighborhood. I can't wait to try brunch!

Hungry yet?

Red Rooster on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It’s been ages since I’ve seen LG. I miss her so much! So when she told me that she and her husband would be in NYC for a couple of days, I had to take advantage of it.  The last time we saw each other was in JFK while she was waiting for a connecting flight! I gave her a few options in terms of restaurants and she selected Cafeteria.  I have only been to their former location in Miami so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was live in there but the music was a little too loud for my liking.  The place is open 24/7 which is a plus.  The menu had a lot of options but for whatever reason there was nothing that really called out to me.   The complimentary biscuits were incredible.  Pillowy and airy with just the right amount of salt to really bring out the flavors.  Those kept me occupied for some time.

LG ordered the meatloaf.  It was def a heaping loaf of meat topped with an oven roasted tomato relish.  According to LG, the garlic mashed potatoes were amazing.  

Her hubs ordered the Crispy Braised Pork Tacos.

They certainly looked interesting and based on how well he cleaned the plate, it’s safe to say they tasted great.  The Tacos were Sweet Potato Puree, Spicy Jicama Salsa and Shoestring Sweet Potatoes. If not for the pork, I would have definitely ordered them.  I had a nightmare trying to place an order.  I couldn’t decide what to get and unfortunately I think I ordered the worst item on the menu, the Fish and Chips.  To make matters worse, I thought I was improving my meal by ordering the truffle oil parmesan fries, but in the end nothing good came of it.

That’s the best picture I have of my meal.  The fish was three unmanageable pieces deep fried and frankly quite disgusting.  I was definitely disappointed in this meal.  Yet once again, dessert came to the rescue.  LG and her hubs ordered the Deep Fried Oreos which were served with Espresso Chip Ice Cream and a Coffee Shake Shot.

I couldn’t bring myself to try an oreo but I did have a bit of the Coffee Shake Shot. WHOA. Definitely will wake you up right away.  I ordered the Warm Fallen Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Drizzle and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  The cake was amazingly rich and the ice cream was the perfect way to complement the chocolate.  The passion fruit drizzle was lost on me. I thought it was an unnecessary distraction.

Overall, Cafeteria was uneven.  The biscuits were a high point and my entree was definitely a low point.  Perhaps if I was a little more decisive I could have selected a better entree. The desserts were well executed but also had an air of excess, but I guess that’s what dessert is all about.  I suppose I would go back but only if I was in the mood for a particular item on the menu.

Hungry yet?

Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eggspectation - Downtown Silver Spring, MD

I'm excited to be doing another guest blog in Lady T's food memoir. This will be a short one, but I have a few more lined up - whenever Lady T is on travel or too bogged down, I'm here to share my DC area food experiences! :-)

If you're looking for a casual but upscale breakfast or brunch egggsperience - try Eggspectation in Downtown Silver Spring. The restaurant theme is "Les Cirques des Oeufs" (Circus of eggs) with related decor and murals creating a fun ambiance. It's also in a great location, with tons of shops and restaurants surrounding - both times I went with Ms. R we never failed to walk over to Borders right after our meal.

Speaking of Ms. R, this time she started off with a mimosa which was actually quite refreshing.

I went for a cappucino - which was also eggcellent ;-)

Ms. C decided to have an omelette and chose a good one - the Chesapeake - which includes crab, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. It was tasty, with potatoes and cantaloupe as sides. I'm not sure about the sweet dipping sauce they gave with it - the omelette might have gone better with ketchup! Overall Ms. C enjoyed it alot, along with her mimosa. I'm not a huge omelette fan, but even I thought it was a good mix of flavors.
Ms. R went for a classic - 2 eggs sunny side up, turkey sausage, and grilled tomatoes. It was very tasty especially if you're in the mood for basic breakfast foods - but Ms. R did seem to hold on to my dish more (as we did our dish tasting rotations).

Lastly, I decided to try something new, the Huevos Rancheros (recommended by Ms. R). Warm soft tortillas, topped with 2 eggs - I had them sunny side up which seems weird but somehow went really well. On top of that came the really good stuff - onions, pulled pork, and peppers, and smothered in Ranchero sauce and cheese. It was DELICIOUS! Very flavorful, and spicy (I asked for hot sauce) adding a texmex edge to breakfast. The crunchy tortilla with refried beans and sour cream was a good compliment, this is a must try!

Overall, eggggcellent!

Eggspectation on Urbanspoon

Homemade Ravioli Stuffed with Mushroom, Spinach, and Cheese

Homemade pasta is not as easy as it seems! But somehow the head chef, Mr. I, and the sous chefs (Mr. K and I) did it.........

Mr. I started out by mixing wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and olive oil - pretty simple so far.

Next we made a hole into the pasta and cracked the eggs into it...

The flour was (very slowly) folded ontop of the egg to create a thick dough mixture. A bit of water was used when needed...

A rolling pin was used to smooth out and flatten the dough. This looks easy but took a lot of man power!

The flattened out dough was sprinkled with flour and ready to make ravioli out of...

A ravioli press was used to make the pasta shapes, by placing a sheet down and rolling over to seal once stuffed with filling.
Mr. I made the topping/filling which included: ricotta cheese, shredded 5-cheese blend (mozarella, romano, parmesan, provolone, and asiago), mushroom, and spinach.

The sauce was made with: tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, and various seasonings.

Mr. I made the dish fancy by serving it on a bed of spinach drizzled with olive oil. The stuffed ravioli was extremely filling and tasty, and much more satisfying than eating store made pasta. But also time consuming and tiring, so make sure you have the energy! Mr. I, Mr. K and I all enjoyed every bite of it.
Thanks Mr. I for letting me post your creative pasta dish!


Apologies for my limited posting this past week. The hard part about having a day job like mine is that sometimes they want it to be a night job too :(  Thankfully, my guest blogger is willing to step up and help me out so expect some entries from her.

While GMTT was here, Mr. M planned several dining experiences.  Although he made my day by telling me we were going to Red Rooster, he changed it up and instead we ended up at Craftbar (yes, I know, my life is so hard one celebrity chef restaurant for another).  While I enjoyed eating at Colicchio & Sons last year, since I started watching Top Chef, I’ve decided I’m not a fan of Mr. Colicchio’s attitude.  Regardless, his food was good last year so I suppose this would be tasty too.  Meh.  I was late to dinner because I had camera issues.  The photos in this post were thanks to GMTT’s camera which has a slightly more active flash than mine. Apologies.

We were joined at dinner with Z&Z. It was so great to see them after so long.  I wanted to order dessert as my appetizer but the most appealing item on the menu, the Apple Crisp with Brown Butter Ice Cream was no longer available.  I pouted while the rest of the group ordered appetizer.  

Z (female) ordered the Baby beet goat cheese salad with pistachio and candied citrus.  She found it to be “beety” I had a taste and it was fine but truthfully didn’t compare to the salad from Motorino.  Z (male) ordered the Wagyū Beef Tongue served with Horseradish Aïoli.

He found it to be really good and the horseradish aioli was not really spicy but the flavor enhanced the beefy taste.  GMTT and Mr. M ordered the Spanish Octopus small plate.

It was served with chorizo, cranberry bean and lemon greek yogurt.  Within an instant, all I saw were empty plates so this must have been delicious.  Soon after, our entrees began to arrive.  Mr. M ordered the Berkshire Pork Belly with Fried Egg, collard greens and anson mills polenta.

It looked interesting and he definitely enjoyed it.  Z (male) ordered the Duck Confit which was served with a white bean cassoulet and a duck egg.

The egg looked spectacular because it was breaded outside, however I came to find out it was runny inside so I’m glad I didn’t order that.  The skin was crispy and the cast iron presentation was a bonus.  The rest of us ordered the Red Snapper with Sofrito Braised Salsify and Habanero Lime Vinaigrette.

I was slightly underwhelmed by this dish.  The snapper was fine.  That’s right, I said it, just fine.  I must admit that the salsify was really tasty and possibly the most delicious part of the meal.  Expanding my range of acceptable vegetables is probably the best decision I’ve made.  I was pretty glad when the main course was over because it was time to focus on dessert.  Since my desire for Apple Crisp was so overwhelming, I strongly encouraged the group to order three desserts.  I wasn’t really in a chocolate mood so the Chocolate Custard Tart with Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream didn’t really appeal to me.

However, it was so delicious that I kept going back.  The Butterscotch Pot de Crème was PHENOMENAL. 

No, seriously, it was like crème brulee amplified.  However, my absolute favorite that almost led me to forget all about the Apple Crisp was the incredible Brown Sugar Cake served with a Poached Seckel Pear and Ice Cream that is invisible thanks to the flash on the camera. ugh.

I did a little dance in my chair each time I took a bite.  It was very sweet and definitely a sugar cake, but that was exactly what I needed.  The desserts were key because they made sure the dining experience ended on a high note. 

While I understand the inherent awesomeness of Colicchio, I just wasn’t that blown away by craftbar.  I’m sure part of that is based on the lack of diversity on the menu (really, Tom? Do you have to put pork in everything?!) It probably satisfies some people but I don’t recommend this restaurant for someone with dietary restrictions.  The freshness of the ingredients is highlighted by their every changing menu.  I certainly respect that.  The music was also pretty awesome – any restaurant that plays Stevie twice during the meal gets some ambiance points.  I’m not sure that I would go back to craftbar without giving the menu a once over to see if there’s something that calls out to me.  There are far too many restaurants in New York for me to compromise.

Hungry yet?

Craftbar on Urbanspoon