Friday, November 13, 2009

LOSER

I am such a LOSER...straight loser..since August I have been to several places such as Houston, Texas, Memphis, TN, Greenwood, MS, Ensenada, Mexico, Catalina Island and even to Beijing and Shanghai, China. I've let you all down and yes, I suck tremendously. I will work over the next coming weeks to put up some stuff for you all!

My food pictures from China will definitely WOW you plus the fish taco pics from Ensenada, Mexico aren't too shabby either!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

MIAMI.....2009






I have been EXTREMELY LAZY with this blog and people have been on my case about it. I promise...I am about to upload some stuff on Miami...hell, I'll just do it here (If you need more details...just let me know):

Villa Habana
3398 SW 22nd Street
Miami, FL 33145
305-446-7427

WOW oh WOW....come here if you are strapped for cash and want a fabulous Cuban meal with great attentive service. They have these "lunch" specials that run until 10pm at night...now that's a lunch for you. I had the Cuban fried chicken, moros rice and plaintains here. The fried chicken was hot and juicy..full of flavor. The moros rice is a combination of white rice and black beans. This mixture was so delicious that I was literally almost ready to lick the plate! I finished off the meal with a dessert called natill. On the menu it's listed as "wheat"...now, wheat does not sound like a dessert I am interested in eating but honey, let me tell you how delicious this creamy concoction was...the waiter said I MUST sprinkle cinnamon on it...AMAZING!!!!!!!


Wet Willie's at Hard Rock Casino and Hotel
http://www.wetwillies.com/
Hollywood, FL


Umm...not too sure what to say. Wet Willie's is a bar that serves only frozen drinks that look like margaritas and daiquiris. I ordered what I saw the locals order which was Call a Cab and Shock Treatment. Let's just say that the drink was stronger than those guys on the wrestling show. Ending up throwing that $8 drink in the trash! I am sure the other flavors are better. Stick to the basics like Weak Willie (non alcoholic) or a Strawberry one.


Jerry's Famous Deli
http://www.jerrysfamousdeli.com/
1450 Collins Avenue
Miami, FL 33139
305-532-8030

We went here for breakfast the second day of the trip. Breakfast was rather blah....nothing special about a $10 breakfast...I received 2 pancakes, a sausage link, 3 strips of bacon and since I don't like eggs, I asked for toast instead. The meal was so so, I've had better breakfast from Denny's and have paid way less. I did frequent this restaurant again a couple of days later for a slice of strawberry shortcake which was heavenly!!!! Fresh strawberries and plenty of moist cake layers with preserves and whipped cream. Desserts are definitely a plus here.

Manolo's
http://www.churrosmanolo.com/
7300 Collins Avenue
Miami, FL 33141
305-868-4381


When you hear Manolo....I know you think of shoes but not in this case! Manolo's is an Argentianian restaurant that serves up tasty empanadas and other favorites such as spinach pie, milanese and yes...CHURROS!!! I had the pleasure of having some of the best empanadas ever. The empanadas here are baked not fried like you find in other restaurants. They are quite filling and as usual, I over did it by ordering three...two would have been enough! They also have traditional desserts which was berry delicious like their sugary peach cake which I am sure was heaven sent!!! Prices are very reasonable. My only regret is I didn't get to try the milanesa considering I did eat here twice. They do serve pizza but on pancetta bread which looks quite delicious for a couple to share. Order the cream churros and the caramel ones...you can thank me later!!


Le Boudoir
http://www.leboudoirmiami.com/
186 SE 12th Terrace
Miami, FL 33131
305-372-2333

This little gem set in a condo building was quite a delight. I was trying to be "healthier" and thought that a salad would be in order. I went here and ordered their B-Cobb salad. Although this is a cobb salad, there are no eggs which is great since I don't like them. The salad was about $15 but it was worth it. It was filled with luscious blue crab and shrimp along with spring greens, fresh tomatoes and diced sweet mango in a balsamic vinegarette. I thoroughly enjoyed this salad and would definitely eat here again. I also had a raspberry torte here that was delicious and not too sweet.

Tapas and Tintos
http://www.tapasandtintos.com/
448 Espanola Way
Miami, FL 33139
305-538-8272

We were looking for a place to eat paella and found a place that was way across town...ended up just asking the local bartender in the hotel where to go and she recommended this place. The place is packed and we end up at an outdoor table which is a pretty good thing until it starts RAINING...fortunately we were under an umbrella and the rain hardly phased us! We ordered the seafood paella here that was full of shrimp, fish, calamari, whole lobster and some other seafood I am forgetting. The paella had a great flavor but my friend felt we needed some more rice. I was fine with it and will order it again. I am interested in going back and trying the tapas like the croquettes and other items like the squid ink rice. I had a mango daiquiri here...umm, too strong..Miami loves to get you with the heavy handed drinks!!

Clevelander
http://www.clevelander/
1020 Ocean Drive
Miami, FL 33139
877-532-4006

We ate here on the last night of our vacation. We were looking for a "reasonable" place to eat and we stopped by several places before deciding to eat here. All I really wanted was a snack and this place hit the spot! I order three shrimp tacos for $9 and an order of sweet potato fries with chili salt. The tacos were great and it was an ample serving considering South Beach prices. The sweet potato fries.....I probably should have kissed the cook because these were faboulous...lightly fried and golden orange in color. They were thin unlike most sweet potato fries I have had previously. The chili salt on there is definitely a plus!! This was probably my cheapest meal in South Beach! Will go back again and will try the other items. Had a rum runner here and it was very good. Rum on top so I could mix it in myself. (my request)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lobster Shanty (July 2009) Cocoa Beach, FL

Lobster Shanty
2200 South Orlando Ave
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
(321) 783-1350
http://www.cocoabeachlobstershanty.com/

I went here on Tuesday with one of my coworkers. We went for the early bird specials which are from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

I looked at the menu and decided to get the crabcake and fried shrimp dinner. It came with either soup or salad bar or soup and salad....greedy me paid $1.50 extra so I could have both. The clam chowder here was pretty good..every bite had tasty clams. The salad bar is all you can eat and it's stocked with the typical iceberg, mixed greens and spinach. There is also pasta salad, several meats and fruits on this salad bar. The meal comes with a side dishe and I opted for the rice. I should have selected the sweet potato since that is what other people were eating. The rice was ok but I've had better. The waitress brings us some corn fritters...I really didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised to receive a hushpuppy like ball of corn meal with real corn kernels inside lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Ok, my coworker and I ate all of the fritters and we even asked for more....too bad we didn't get anymore! We didn't need them anyway!

My fried shrimp was typical. The tartar sauce was pretty good and I judge a lot of seafood restaurants based off of their tartar sauce! The crab cake was a small fried one but it was very good.

I'd definitely come back to this place again for dinner. Price was under $20 so mark this one as reasonable and a good value!

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion (July 2009) Orlando, FL














Roy's Hawaiian Fusion
7760 West Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-4844

Ok, this by far might have been one of the best damn restaurants I have ever been to. I know I don't normally comment on chains but this is a chain without the chain feeling...you know what I mean. I am typing this report from the Orlando airport and it's 6AM so forgive me for whatever errors are here! Last night I was contemplating where to eat...Black Angus? Bojangles Fried Chicken (hey, I have to get it where I can get it good) or some other local restaurants. I remembered before I left California that I wanted to try Roy's. I had passed by this restaurant a few years ago and I was thinking...wow...let me check this place out.

Well, I perused their website and noticed that they have a Summer Prix Fixed Menu...Aunt Kenna loves Prix Fixed menus...no suprises when the bill arrives. I decided to take a stab and drive to the restaurant. I remember I probably needed reservations. I called and they told me I could eat at Chef's area or I could wait for a table for over an hour. Umm, when I am hungry, waiting is not an option. I told the hostess when I arrive I will make my decision. I arrived about 30 minutes later. They have free valet parking...what a concept! I really didn't need valet so I parked my own rental. I went inside and noticed the dark lighting and a lot of noise....chatter of people talking and the chefs creating art in the kitchen. I was quickly seated at the Chef's area. This area is really counter seating around the kitchen...imagine being belly up at a sushi restaurant. It was kinda like that but better because so much action was taking place from the grilling of fine steaks and seafood to the frying of chicken tenders for the kids to the making of fresh sushi right in from of your face to the sounds of salads being tossed in various sauces.

My waiter comes over and asked me for my drink order. I remembered on their website that they have Lychee Caipirinha. This year is the year of Brazil (my statement) and I opted for that drink. I am used to having caipirinhas in smaller glasses. Well, I received a huge glass as if this was lemonade....I couldn't drink it all but it was certainly very refreshing.....on to the food...the real reason you read these reviews...

The Prix Fixed menu was appetizer, entree and dessert. I opted for the crispy shrimp lumpia, Kobe beef meatloaf and the Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle which is one of the signature desserts here.

The waiter brought me some meat wontons compliments of the chef...I like that..special touch from the chef! The lumpia was quick fried and stuffed with clear noodles, mushrooms and other veggies plus a shrimp with the tail at the top of the eggroll skin. This dish was served with sweet and sour mango sauce which I couldn't get enough of..it was great. The second dish was the Kobe meatloaf. I have to admit..I know why Kobe beef costs so much. One bite and you will be hooked. This meatloaf was more than savory. Two ample sized pieces with mushroom gravy probably cooked in sherry and other seasonings. The meat was served with broccoli and scalloped potatoes...not like your mom's. Check my photo for more details!

The finale was the dessert..now I have had similar creations on cruise ships but this baby was flawless. A flourless chocolate delight oozing with hot molten chocolate accompanied with fresh raspberry sauce and yes....vanilla ice cream.

I ate everything that was presented to me and I even tried to lick the plate...yes I did.

The meal with one drink, tax and tip was $56 and I am going to tell you that it was certainly WORTH IT.

I might have to name this gem ROTM....we'll see..still early but it's high on the list.

I don't have any service awards on my blog but this restaurant HANDS DOWN has the best service. The waiters are warm and generous and the managers are just great. Normally I eat alone and the service is kinda blah but the staff even the chefs checked on me to make sure I was enjoying my meal...again, hands down..best service ever.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Trevor's Blue Toucan Caribbean (Cape Canaveral, FL) July 2009











Trevor Blue Toucan Caribbean Restaurant
8501 Astronaut Blvd.
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
321-784-5300
http://www.trevorsbluetoucan.com/















Ok...as usual, I am running around trying to figure out where am I going to have dinner this evening. I remembered passing by a Caribbean restaurant yesterday. As luck would have it, some how my rental turned into the parking lot and ended up in front of this restaurant. I get out of the car and enter the facillity to be immediately greeted by Tudor and a lady I imagine is his wife. Tudor escorts me to my table, hands me a menu and he tells me about some of the items they have to offer. I peruse the menu and saw the familiar jerk chicken...you know...Jerk Chicken!!!! I am a lover of seafood and I was torn between a seafood dish and jerk chicken. I asked Tudor what should I do and he recommends the jerk chicken which I gladly obliged. The chicken comes with soup or salad plus two side dishes. I opted for the salad and for my sides I selected cabbage plus rice and beans.

The salad arrived loaded with crisp greens, fresh tomatoes, sliced onions and yellow bellpeppers. A caddy of dressings was also available for my enjoyment. I quickly ate my salad in high anticipation of my chicken.........

A few moments later Tudor comes around the corner with a plate of luscious smelling chicken, rice and beans and cabbage. I took a quick bite and pulled out my camera to take a pic...well, my flash alerted Tudor!!!! Haha!! I'm no food critic..just a lover of food I explain. I continue to eat. I was trying to be proper and use my fork but at some point in the meal, I just had to put the fork down and pick it up with my hands!! That's the way chicken is done! The chicken was served with three side sauces of mango salsa, jerk sauce and a special sauce called "fireball". I am always leery of any sauce with the name fire in it. The fireball was quite savory...just don't use a lot..perhaps a few drops will do the trip. The cabbage here is quite delicious...I almost asked for a side to go but hey, I can't always be greedy now can I?????

I kept on eating and the chef Trevor comes over. He's from Montego Bay and everybody knows I love Jamaica! I think I am really from there but no one will admit it...mom....dad??? Trevor explains to me that he makes all of the food there including the sauces. This is a rarity in restaurants these days since everything out there is processed..not here...you can't get this kind of chicken in a freezer bag..no way my friend.

I finished up my dinner and Tudor asked about dessert. I really didn't need it but hey, I haven't met a cake I didn't like. I walked over to the dessert case and picked out coconut cake. They also have other desserts such as mango cheesecake, Caribbean marble cake, carrot cake and other desserts.

I know this is a bit early as this is the first of the month but I might have to name this ROTM....you know...Restaurant of the Month. Service was great and the chef was very pleasant. Do make it your business not to pass up this gem the next time you are in the Cape area.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Daphne's Greek Cafe (Camarillo, CA) June 2009

Daphne's Greek Cafe
http://www.daphnesgreekcafe.com/
2390 Las Posas Rd.
Camarillo, California 93010
805-389-0575

I generally do not comment on chain restaurants but this is one I have never been to before. Well, on Saturday I was in Camarillo visiting some folks and I was driving on Las Posas. I was going to grab some "real" fast food but I saw Daphne's Greek Cafe and decided to eat there. I walk in and immediately I am confused...it's always like this at new restaurants for me. I ended up ordering something on a picture. I know, pretty lame but that's what I did. I ordered the gyro and shrimp combination plate. This plate was served with freshly sliced gyro meat, 6 crispy shrimp, greek salad and rice. The price of the combo was $8.79 plus tax and it was also served with 4 pita wedges.

Ok, ths skinny...the food was delicious. I admit it. I was really hungry and I devoured the tasty meat on the pita bread with the sauce that comes with it. HOWEVER, when I finished, I was still hungry.....ok, this might have just been one of those freak days where nothing would have filled me up. I will go back here again but next time, I will order the gyro sandwich. The rice here is very flavorful and the greek salad is good also.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jetty Restaurant (Lompoc, CA) June 2009

Jetty Restaurant
(805) 735-2400
304 West Ocean Avenue
Lompoc, CA 93436
http://www.jettyrestaurants.com/

Apparently this place is a local seafood favorite. I've been here before and as usual, I never behave...always over do it here! I ate dinner here on Wednesday night. They have these specials between 4PM and 6PM. Choices include steaks, grilled halibut and other items. I ordered the grilled halibut and did an add on of clam strips. Clam strips are always chewy but I love them! The early bird special comes with soup or salad. I opted for the clam chowder. In my opinion, this place has some of the best clam chowder ever and it even beats some of my favorite seafood restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area...yes I said it..hands down, the Jetty's clam chowder is loaded with tender clams. It really loaded..every spoonful has clams not like other watered down chowders at a certain unnamed location in Malibu near the Ventura County line....yep..you know already.

My chowder was delivered and the waittress tells me it also comes with shrimp cocktail! Yes, I'm in shellfish heaven! I quickly eat my thick and rich chowder and polish off my shrimp cocktail. My grilled halibut arrives accompanied with an ample sized baked potato and the add on clam strips. The halibut was thick and lightly dusted with seasoning and a pat of butter. There was also savory tartar sauce which I really like here.

This place has all you can eat fish and chips on Tuesdays if you so desire. I will be back again to try the crab legs and other seafood.

Price was reasonable. Everything was $18.48 which is a steal compared to other seafood restaurants. Will be going back!

La Botte Italian Restaurant (Lompoc, CA) June 2009

La Botte Italian Restaurant
812 North H Street
Lompoc, California 93436
805.736.8525
http://www.labotteitalianrestaurant.com/

Well, today is another glorious day and I am just now arriving back home from a business trip. On the way home, I stopped by La Botte in Lompoc for dinner. I had been passing by this place all week and finally decided..ok, let me check the place out. Well, I get there and didn't see many cars. I failed to realize the parking is in the back.....my dad used to say if a lot of cars are in front of a restaurant that was a good sign however he didn't say anything about cars in the back?? I digress! I park the shopping cart (you already know if you know me personally) and get out. I enter this huge wooden door to be greeted by a woman known as Mama Caterina. Mama Caterina is the owner of the restaurant and there is a sign stating that she makes all of the desserts herself. I'd glad to see she is plus size diva....a sure sign the food must be good. There were three tables that were occupied but as a few minutes passed, droves of people start entering the facility.

My waitress came over and brought me some water and the menus. I quickly browsed the menu. I must admit, I'm not a huge Italian food fan but this place was worth the visit. I ended up ordering the farfalle con salmone. This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and everywhere I have been it has been served quite different. This restaurant has loads of savory smoked salmon and shockingly..green peas! I love green peas so this was just a great mixer for me. The pasta was al dente and the sauce smooth and flavorful. I am used to this dish served rather spicy. I have a similar rendition that I make except I use Russia's favorite vodka and shrimp for that surprise taste!

I had the side salad which is pretty common everywhere with mixed greens, slivers of carrots and ranch dressing on the side. The house bread here...oh my goodness, I ate the entire serving. I was so ashamed..no I wasn't! It was warm and crispy. I wanted some to go but hey, I had enough for me and probably two other people.

It's still early in the month and I'm thinking this might be restaurant of the month. I like the fact that Mama Caterina is actually WORKING in the restaurant going table to table. There was another older woman there working and I wonder if she was Mama Caterina's mother or aunt. Never ask a woman's age...just don't!

I will be back to dine here when I am back in the area.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

HC Seafood (Oxnard, CA) May 2009

HC Seafood
3920 W Channel Island Blvd.
Oxnard, CA 93032
(805) 382-8171

Ok, I have been to this place several times. I was supposed to eat lunch with a friend today but I was late leaving church...well, you know how church can be! Ha ha! I ordered the usual here which is the grilled salmon meal. It comes with two nice sized fillets of grilled, piping hot salmon spiced with pepper and other seasonings, french fries, cole slaw, garlic bread and a bowl of clam chowder. The meal costs $10.50 which is 55 cents more than it was 2 years ago. At the current price, it's still a great meal. I ordered some extra garlic bread for a total of $11.70 which is a steal in reality!

I really love the salmon here. You can get grilled halibut or shark if you'd like. They also have the traditional favorites such as fish and chips. The fish here is breaded in panko bread crumbs. I don't like the tartar sauce here. Use ketchup instead..they should really look into making their own sauce instead of the generic bottle trash you can get at any large warehouse store! Yep, I said it..the tartar sauce SUCKS! But..the fish is delicious! I'm just used to original homemade tartar sauce!

The clam chowder leaves much to be desired...a bit watery but edible!

I've been eating here for years and plan to eat here for more years! This restaurant has outdoor seating so don't wear your best threads...be sure to slap the fool who is feeding the birds while you are there!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Picanha Churrascaria (Burbank, CA) May 2009




Pichanha Churrascarria


269 East Palm Avenue


Burbank, CA 91502


Phone: 818-972-2100








Ok, I just drove about an hour to eat at this place today. I wanted to go to Fogo de Chao in Bevelry Hills with some coworkers but we changed our plans to go another weekend. Anyway, I hopped in my shopping cart (Scion) and hit highway 101. I arrived a little after 5:30 PM I was very hungry since all I had previously today was a little potpie and a handfull of wheat thins...not exactly the lunch of champions!




I enter the facility and the hostess seats me. My waitress Anna comes over and asks me if I've been there and my answer is no. Well, she explains the concept and off I go to the buffet to fill up on salads and side dishes. This salad bar is fairly decent. They have the typical romaine mix, iceberg mix and side salads like pasta salad, tuna salad, cucumber and tomato salad and shockingly tabouleh which I actually ate. They also a hot food side with some Brazilian and American side dishes like black beans, mashed potatoes, rice, sauteed zucchini and other stuff including curry chicken soup.




I ordered the traditional Brazilian capirinha drink...this drink is not for a "social" drinker..leave it alone at all costs....just kidding, it's made with cachaca which is basically sugarcane rum. It's good and it quickly becoming one of my favorite "spirits"...heehee! A bit on the strong side so be careful!




The gauchos start coming around with the meat. You have to put up this small item if you want meat or not. I'm not much of a beef eater so I had a small slice of the tri tip which was very delicious. Also had lamb (sorry PETA!!!), spicy chicken, parmesean chicken, linguica and another type of sausage. They serve 15 types of meat but I was too full to try anything else...even being full, I had dessert. Brazilian flan...it was ok..a bit too browned on the bottom but otherwise ok.




I spent a total of $48 which wasn't bad at all considering you can literally eat until you pass out if you so desire. The cost for the dinner is $29.95 I will be coming back here again and bringing out of time guests.




Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 2009..in a quick post

I have totally been neglecting my blog and people are complaining that I am not giving them their fix..ok...do I look like a street pharmacist?? This is work...not some quick fix production here! Just kidding!

I've been a lot of places this month so I will just list them and come back and comment on them later.

MINI REVIEWS IN ( )

May 1st-4th Jamaica
Royal Decameron dining hall in Montego Bay (buffet meals all the time, great callaloo and steamed vegetables here)
Jerk Chicken from Wayne off the street-Gloucester Street Montego Bay (I can't say enough but to eat this chicken if you can!
Rick's Cafe-Negril (great view of the sunset, food not worth the price...eat at your hotel, better deal than rick's)
Beef Patties from the guy on the beach-Negril
Peanut brittle from some guy on the beach-Negril

May 10th Encino, CA
Stevie's (delicious grits and catfish, hey, I am a southern girl you know!)

May 15th-18th Saint Louis, MO
Cheesecake Factory (they're all the same...good salisbury steak and potatoes!)
Coco Louco Brasil-Central West End (capirinhas and pastels here are wondering, see Sarkan if you dine here)

May 18th-???? Houston, TX
Lupe's Tortilla (TexMex restaurant....umm, I'll stick with the Mexican food in Oxnard..it's so much better)
East Star Chinese Buffet (probably one of the best Chinese buffets...they had catfish on the buffet..I was in heaven!)
Chabuca's International (woowah...loved the ambiance of this place, food is great as well. It's a brazilian restaurant)
Pappas Seafood House (great crawfish, not sure what kind of seasoning they use but it's a bit spicy) !
Saltgrass (margarita pie...enough said!!)

I've got my work cut out for me but I am going to go ahead and name Chabuca's as the restaurant of the month....delish but you don't know that yet!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Carnival Cruiseline (San Diego/Ensenada, MEXICO) April 2009







I am copying this from another place I blog....






Quick Recap:






Thursday: I took the Amtrak from Oxnard to San Diego. This was a little over 4 hours. I arrived in San Diego about 12:15 PM I walked two blocks to the cruise terminal and got my stuff all geared up. I was on the ship by 1 and I was eating lunch by 1:30 PM. I walked around the ship and got acclimated..found the dance spots, the bars, restaurants and what not. I went back to my room and took a nap until dinner time. I did the early dinner at 6:00PM. I arrived on time and was seated at a table for 13.....I was the only person there for about an hour...didn't bother me at all!!! Ha ha, I met some table mates from Las Vegas and they were really cool. Late, but cool! I walked around a bit and went back to my room to sleep so I could see the 10:30 PM welcome show...umm, I didn't wake up till 2AM!! I told yall this was the SNOOZE CRUISE!!






ETA: For dinner, I had pan seared tilapia and some of the best macaroni and cheese known to man...please don't tell my mom!






Friday: We arrived in Ensenada, Mexico. I was debating taking a tour but decided..not to because I had already been there before and I promised my mom I wouldn't get off the ship....everybody so scared about what's happening in these border towns. I just took some pics from the ship. This was my chill out day! I was so happy they had grits from breakfast everyday!!!! That was a truly southern girl's highlight!!! I listened to some reggae on the sun deck and walked over to the adults only deck called Serenity. Got jealous and went to my room to put on my swimsuit!! Ha ha, I soaked in the hot tub for an hour or so. That was probably way too long!! Anyway, it was cool cause everybody talked to me! I got out of the hot tub and went back to my room and showered and SLEPT again until dinner. I ordered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from room service just for the heck of it. I also ordered what they called the Mexican Mama drink...I think if I had lit that thing up, the whole ship would have been in flames! Anyway, I went to dinner for formal night! LOBSTER!!! Oh yeah and it was delish! This night I had some new tablemates from Huntington Beach. I watched one of their Vegas style shows which was very good! Anyway, after the show I decided to go listen to some people sing kareoke...by this time, I had had another drink so I was good and ready to sing!!! Well, I mustered up the courage to go sing Doing the Butt by EU Band.....oh lord...why did I do this. I had about 10 blonds from Southern Cali come up and me my backup singers!!!!! They were drunk and I was already tipsy as hell!! Anyway, I barely made it through the song but I did it!! They did a great job too...the next day, people were telling me how much they enjoyed the song and everytime they'd see me, I'd shake my butt and laugh!!! Ha ha, after kareoke, I went over to the Romeo and Juliet Club to listen to some live music. Ended up having another drink here and decided to hit the dance floor.....I did not stop yall!! Folks kept coming over telling me about my dancing...what can one say!!!!! I decided to be a real cruiser and I went to the Midnight Buffet which was Mexican food. They had these really good salmon enchiladas or whatever they were...SO GOOD!!!! I went to my room, watched tv and fell asleep!






Saturday: This was Fun Day at Sea. I had my usual grits again! This was pretty low key for me. I played bingo for $800..too bad I didn't win! Also watched the ice carving demo and the Hairy Man contest..I about died laughing on this one! I went back over the the adults only deck called Serenity and chilled out for a while. I ran into folks I had met and talked briefly. I went to the debarkation talk just for the heck of it! I ate way too much this day...they had some macaroni there that tasted way better than some people I know that really know how to make it!!!! I need to go on a diet now!!! I went to the sit down dinner and gave my facebook info to my tablemates to keep up with me. I did kareoke again and this time I did Jill Scott..A Long Walk..I won't do that again!!!! It was fun though! Also went back to Romeo and Juliet but I didn't dance. Just listened to music. Hit up the late night dining for a slice of pizza and headed off to bed!






Sunday: Woke up early and had breakfast by 7. I was out of my room by 7:45 AM and off the ship by 9AM which gave me plenty of time to get to the train station! I am back home!!!












I'll be back to clean this up with FOOD ONLY!!!!






Mandarin House (Camarillo, CA) April 2009

Mandarin House
4585 Pleasant Valley Rd
Camarillo, CA 93010
805-987-6465

I will be back for a full review but this place serves the QUICKEST meals I have ever seen. One of my friends lives in Camarillo and she introduced me to this place. I've already been back less than a week of the introduction....

PLACEHOLDER..I'll be back!

Pho Saigon (Port Hueneme, CA) April 2009

Pho Saigon
805-240-9334
826 N Ventura Rd
Port Hueneme, CA 93041

I typically don't go to Vietnamese restaurants..I'm just not that adventurous but I am working on that. I'm a changed woman...!!!! My coworker called and suggested that we eat at this place and I ok the recommendation. He told me that we needed to leave early because the place fills up. Well, I had no idea but that place was FULL..folks standing at the front waiting to sit down for a hot plate of whatever the speciality is!

I ordered a number 33 which is the shrimp fried rice and I ordered number 1 which are the eggrolls without the salads. Their shrimp fried rice is the best shrimp fried rice I have had in Ventura County. Now admittingly, I get our fried rice from Chinese restaurants but honey, the Vietnamese have got this art down packed. I don't know what they put in there but I went back the next day for a carry out order. The rice is $8.50 which is considerably more than other restaurants but once you taste it, you'll know why.The eggrolls reminded me of the crispy lumpia you can find in Filipino restaurants except these were longer/thicker and filled with a bit more mushrooms and cabbage plus meat.

I am definitely going here again this week for lunch...trust that. Say hello if you see me!

Lobster Trap (Oxnard, CA) April 2009

Lobster Trap
805-985-6361
3605 Peninsula Rd
Oxnard, CA

I ate at this restaurant last week with an old friend I haven't seen in months. It was great catching up on old times with her. It was also funny watching her flirt with the waiter...I got to find her a man!!! Anyway, on to the skinny! I've never been to this restaurant but I read the reviews and wasn't sure what to expect. I had my trusty gift certificate so it really didn't matter!

First off, the view from this place is magnificent. Great view of the harbor.

We settled into a cozy booth to review the menu. I saw crab cakes on the menu and decided to order these as an appetizer. For my meal, I decided to be a glutton....I ordered the fried plate with fried shrimp, beer battered shrimp, calamari and clam strips. My friend order prime rib....as usual, I have no idea but she was licking her fingers in public...must be a good sign!

The crab cakes arrived and they were on top of what appeared to be some type of guacamole concoction. Ok, I've had several crabcakes in my life and I am used to the Maryland/Virginia/East Coast crabcakes. Umm...these crabcakes I had were the worst I've ever had. Something wasn't right and I didn't want to know what it was. When I say they were the worst, they were edible by all means but I'm used to that flaky, white crabcakes from the East Coast. Save you $10 and don't order these!

My fried platter could have fed the mulititude! This plate was massive...french fries piled up to make a fat kid like smile all day long. This plate is really for two people! Cost was $16.95 and I would say it's worth it.

Not much more to say about this place. I will try it again in the future. Stay away from the crab cakes...go to Maryland instead!

Safire (Camarillo, CA) April 2009

Safire
4850 Santa Rosa Rd
Camarillo, CA 93012
805-389-1227
www.safirebistro.com

Happy Easter! Ok..it's still early in the month and I am already naming this hotspot Restaurant of the Month. For a place to be named ROTM so early is a pretty good indicator that I'll be back there again. I really need to go some place where the owner will start putting my reviews on the wall...nah, that will never happen!

Anyway, we went there for dinner tonight. I had no idea there were going to be Easter specials. There was a three course meal for $29. Lucky me, I had my $25 gift certificate from restaurant.com, a website that is fast becoming my bestest friend!

I ordered the shrimp cocktail, bbq salmon and the lavender scented vanilla bean panna cotta....fancy huh...you didn't know I had that in me did ya???? The other half ordered prime rib. I'm not a steak eater so I have no real comments except he ate the whole thing and he did not complain..that should answer the mail for you!

The shrimp cocktail consisted of three jumbo shrimp served with cocktail sauce and a little bit of horseradish. It was served in a large soup bowl filled with ice...that's classy baby! The bbq salmon was served a top of a bed of yukon mashed potatoes and melted leaks and spinach. I love spinach so this dish was a hit for me. The bbq sauce on the salmon was savory.....I almost wished that it was chicken I was eating but oh well, I did order the salmon. My dessert reminds me of flan but with a slight gelatin taste. This dessert was topped with strawberry slices and caramel sauce on the plate.

Now, the food was definitely the highlight for me..but the real surprise was the margarita. I typically don't drink on Sundays (don't ask!!! just kidding!) but I decided to be brave and I ordered the Caribbean Margarita..this drink took me to Jamaica all over again. I literally thought I was lounging in the warm waters of Negril..ok, back to reality! The margarita was freshly prepared and guess what, COCONUT RUM in a margarita...who would have even imagined this. Definitely, probably...maybe the best damn margarita ever. I am sure I'll be going there again just to sample this smooth and silky concoction. Probably tomorrow..any takers???

The bill was about $76 with tax. This place is somewhere in between upscale and kinda urban chic..you decide. I will try it again soon. Who knew we could get this type of food in Ventura County...I'm tired of driving to LA!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Du-pars Restaurant (Oxnard, CA)

Du-pars Restaurant
2420 E Vineyard Ave
Oxnard, CA
www.du-pars.com

Ok, I was hungry yesterday around 4:00 PM I ate breakfast and after a long day of working and shopping, this girl needed some nourishment! I didn't really have any idea of where to go so I just hopped in my shopping cart (what some call the size of my car!) and went riding. I remembered that Baker's Square was now a Du-pars so I decided to try them out. I am glad I did this. I walked in and saw a familiar face...it was Ron from the old Uncle Herb's restaurant in Oxnard.

Anyway, I was seated and I noticed that they have a Beat the Clock menu between 4PM and 6PM. The menu consisted of fish and chips, tri tip, macaroni and cheese and a chicken dish which is escaping me at this moment! Whatever time you arrive is what you pay. My waittress was Billie and she was a hoot. She reminded me of Alice....without the grit and attitude. They wear those old fashioned white uniform dresses and aprons. Anyway, I decided to go the cheap route and ordered one of the Beat the Clock specials. I ordered the fish and chips which is served with cole slaw and french fries. Since this is Lent season, I suspect a lot of people will order this next Friday. Even I might go up there for that again. I ordered at 4:35 PM so I paid $4.35!!! The Beat the Clock menu requires you to order a drink. I opted for a Coke. The meal comes with either a salad or soup. The soup choices were chicken noodle, split pea and a ham soup. I went for the salad. I need the greens! The salad was a fresh salad with mixed greens not the usual iceberg mix most places serve. There was shredded cheese, beets, tomatoes, red cabbage and croutons in there. Ample size salad and I was satisfied with it. The fish and chips arrived piping hot. I had two pieces of fish, practically half a plate of fries (yes, I ate them all), orange wedge and a fresh roll. For the price, it's a great deal. The fish was hot and the batter was crispy the way I like it! Their tartar sauce is homemade....I might have to go buy some for the fish I make at home!!

I finished my meal and the total was about $7 or so. I opted to get a slice of their freshly made pies...pecan pie...I'm a southern girl..not from southern Cali!!!!! I ate this at home and let me tell you it was enough for two but of course...I didn't share. What kind of woman do you think I am????

I know it's a bit early in the month but I might have to label this as restaurant of the month because of the specials. I will go again and try their meatloaf. This place specializes in food that takes you back to sitting in the kitchen with grandma when she was prepping the meatloaf and getting ready to make pork chops???....!!! Maybe it was only my grandma!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My HOUSE part II (Oxnard, CA)

Welcome to another edition of my house part II! It's that lovely place in that city by the sea serving up the finest takeout known to man!

As I previously stated, I'm not much of a cook but I've mastered a few items........just a few:

Garlic Green Beans..so simple, your five year old can do this! You must start with the freshest of fresh green beans. Do not use frozen beans as the effect will not be the same. Wash and trim the beans. Get a skillet and put the beans in there and kinda "toast and roast" them in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Add in a little garlic..I like a lot so keep adding it!!! Once the beans are sauteed, add a little water and cover the beans. Within 10-15 minutes, you have a masterpiece..someone will swear you're a master but we know...you're not! These beans are always a highlight when I make them so let them be a highlight to your family!

Oxnard: El Portal

I ate here last night. I purchased one of those coupon booklets from a local high school. Kenna always supports the kids cause hey, I was a kid before and I'd be asking everyone to buy this and buy that! Anyway, El Portal is a small Mexican restaurant in an Oxnard shopping center. It's behind the Carl's Junior off Vineyard:

2311 N Oxnard Blvd
Oxnard, CA 93036
(805) 485-5400

I enter the restaurant and look up at this huge board full of Mexican specialities. I go the punk route and pick the Picadillo enchiladas. Well, I ordered water because I need it! No soda for me! Anyway, the food took about ten minutes to prepare. I received a piping hot plate of 3 ground beef enchiladas, rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. These enchiladas were stuffed with seasoned ground beed, diced potatoes and carrots so I guess you could say I got my veggies! They were topped with that infamous red sauce and lots of gooey cheese. Shockingly, the older I get, the less I like cheese so I scraped that off. These enchiladas were flavorful and full of meat. I was not disappointed...I actually cleaned my plate. The rice was seasoned but I was expecting the traditional Spanish style red tomato based rice. I guess the rice there is a family recipe.

The meal wasn't expensive at all. I added an order of chips and my total was $8.52 I noticed that they sell umm..yeah..adult beverages so I decided to have a daiquiri. It was $3.50 which is pretty cheap compared to paying the $6-$8 elsewhere. I guess it's the daiquiri stimulus package??

I finished my meal and watched some tv there. The staff was friendly and they thanked me for coming in when I left. I'll definitely return here again to try their seafood dishes. The place is nice and has a cozy, at home kinda feel to it.