Monday, September 29, 2008

Red Robin - Morgan Hill, Ca

"Red Robinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn... yum." Red Robin's clever little television commercial gets stuck in my head sometimes. Anyhow, my sister and I were on a mission in Morgan Hill yesterday, trying to find the Trader Joe's but we stumbled on Red Robin instead. So, we figured God must have led us here, on purpose, to try out the brand new restaurant. Thanks God - owe you one buddy!

The restaurant was awesome! Cool stuff on the walls - mostly USA stuff which I love. I think there should be more American flags displayed throughout our country. We need more pride! Anyhow...

The Absolut Lemonade was great! The pleasing potion was a refreshing blend of Absolut Citron, amaretto and lemonade. Please ignore the not so cute photo, it was Sunday - my relaxing day of holiday and rest. Not glamour, obviously.

For my entree I got the Cheeseburger Con Queso, normally an appetizer, but you are dealing with an abnormal character - ME! Ay-caramba!!! The spicy cheese dip with ground beef, topped with salsa and fresh cilantro is perfect! Very tasty. I would definitely order this again and maybe bathe in it. That good, seriously.

Next up, the 5 ALARM BURGER! Crank up the heat with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, salsa, tomato, lettuce and chipotle mayo. After watching many commercials on TV with smoke shooting out a guys ears after eating this famed burger I had my camera on stand by as Jennifer took the first bite! Muaaahhhhhaaaaha. She took her first bite, no smoke. Second bite, still waiting for the smoke. Third, nothing-nada-zilch. So, she said it was just okay, nothing special. I was hoping for something entertaining.

All in all, Red Robin is fun. It is a lot like Chili's though, which is weird because there was a Chili's right next door. I like Red Robin better because of the proud USA decor. I counted 24 employees during my short stay there, and who knows how many were in the back! Wow. Thank you Red Robin for supplying our youth with jobs! City of Morgan Hill, you better send a thank you card! I give Red Robin 1.5 thumbs up, you know what you are getting every time and I can appreciate that!


Friday, September 26, 2008

John D's - Lemoore, Ca

Since we were in town for the evening from the Customer Appreciation Days - Pete, Don, Theresa and I made plans to go to dinner together. We decided on John D's, a steak house in Lemoore, that recently changed ownership. The building was always a steakhouse so we challenged JD to bring it on!

The inside was very cute. I liked the western decor - they really have a great layout too. There was a step down bar in the front (not pictured) and a wrap around outdoor patio (also not pictured) that I could envision many parties being held.

I was a slacker with the photos so let me re-cap you. Maybe because I was with a new crowd, and taking pictures of everyone's food/drinks was a little awkward? I don't know, I am a sissy. Anyhow, I had a margarita, and this sucker was stout! I would go on to say maybe, the most potent drink I have had in a long time. I waited for the ice cubes to melt so it was drinkable! Pete had a beer, Theresa had ice tea and Don had a crown and coke. I ordered a salad with ranch but it was forgettable so I will spare you the blag photograph. However, Don ordered Portuguese soupas. This is a traditional Portuguese soup simmered for many hours, made with beef and all sorts of other spices. The one time I do not order the soup! Argggggggggghhhh! Don said it was great. Darn it.

So the top photo is Pete's - he ordered the ribs. There was a lot of food, which is not a complaint. He enjoyed the sweet and sour of the bbq sauce spread across the ribs. Tangy! I tried one of his fries and they were not poisonous! Mission accomplished, I saved the day. Don ordered the rib-eye. One of the pricier steaks on the menu, it seemed to please Don. Cooked to perfection and easy on my eye. Couldn't say a bad thing about that one. Next up, Theresa. She ordered a cheeseburger - it was said to not have been bad, but maybe a little expensive for what it was. And last but not least, mine! I ordered the CRAB CAKES! I love crab cakes. How does one screw up a crab cake, well, by dousing it in too much salt - that is how! I do love me some sodium chloride, but this just took the cake, the crab cake!

All in all, John D's is a fine looking establishment. The wine selection was nice, the ambiance was fantastic and the service was meh. If I had to go back to Lemoore I wouldn't be opposed to this place, but I might want to venture out and try something new. I did like the fact that they let us sit and chat for a couple hours without trying to push us out the door. That was nice. I would give this place one thumb up.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Customer Appreciation Day - Hollister, Hanford & Lemoore, Ca

So every year Dassel's Petroleum Inc. has Customer Appreciation Day's for each one of their sites... We normally just do coffee and donuts with window washing and gas pumping. But, this year we spiced up Hanford and did a trial run of afternoon hot dogs. It worked out fabulously. Scotts Valley's will take place on October 15th and I am going to pull another experiment - Pizza and soda! We will see how it goes... Enjoy the photos!




Happy Fueling!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Cafe Ella - Hollister, Ca

I WAS THE FIRST OFFICIAL CUSTOMER! How exciting is that for a new food blogger?! So if you want all the skinny on the new cafe in Hollister you better listen up, this is hot off the press! Located in the same spot Dimaggio's Cafe used to be at, by the new McDonald's and down the aisle from Tip and Toe can you find Cafe Ella...

Isn't the inside so charming? I was amazed on how cute it was! The color of the walls really was serene and calming - perfect after a stressful day at the office! My favorite part of the decor was the wall of mirrors. Very chic.

We were immediately seated and asked what we would like to drink. I knew I was feeling something a little heart healthy - so I asked for a Cabernet Sauvignon. The waitress recommended one from Rock and Vine, I had never heard of the winery but I was pleased with the choice. Very smooth. Bread and olive oil with balsamic came and we happily indulged.

On with the food! Ordered was the Panzanella Salad, it was very beautiful as you can see from the picture - very colorful! The salad had ciabatta cubes, roasted red pepper, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, feta, baby spinach and arugula. There were two other options of salads all worth trying on different visits. One entree was the lasagna. It is old world style and is made to order, not sliced from a pan. Very cool! Layers of fresh pasta, spinach, ricotta and peccorino cheese, and topped with a sweet, classic meat sauce. Emphasis should be placed on the "meat sauce" - this could also be dubbed the "Land Lovers Special" - ha ha... I ordered the Sweet Chilean Crab and Avocado. Lump crab meat, orange sections, chives, apple vinaigrette on a toasted ciabatta round made their way on a bed of greens. I found this appetizer/entree very refreshing. Light and reminded me of summer. I think this is a great option for someone wanting to end the meal with something on...

And you thought I would sneak out of there without trying one of the desserts didn't you? Ha ha... wrong! The dessert menu was short and sweet, kind of like me! I decided on the Creme Brulee and was happily served quite quickly! I of course shared some, but mostly devoured it all on my own! I love this stuff. It tasted a little warm though, like it had been made not too long ago... which is not a bad thing - I just like my creme brulee ice cold, kind of how I like my beer. I am getting a little cheesy now, so I will move this along...

I was thrilled when I walked through the door and Ella, of Cafe Ella, yes THE Ella, said I was the first customer! I will always think I am royalty when I walk through there now. I will tell the waitress, "You do know I was the first customer" on all future visits... I can see it now... they will say, "Really? Take this VIP section table in the back..." Ahhh the fame I will enjoy. Anyhow, I think Ella's is a refreshing change of pace to restaurants we have in town. It is on the pricier side so don't expect a 99 cent cheeseburger. Expect to pay more and receive fresher and higher quality food! They are open Monday - Saturday for lunch and dinner, which is great because it is rare that anything is open on Mondays in Hollister! Overall, two thumbs up - you will see me there again and again!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Cafe - Hollister, Ca

Have you ever heard of it? Ya... I am surprised if you have. It is tucked away in the shopping center right behind the old McDonald's and across the street from the DMV. It is a quaint little place that seats 35 people.

Amanda and I decided that appetizers and soup sounded good today so that is what we did. I ordered the egg rolls and she got the deep fried wontons. I have to admit she ordered better. I love egg rolls but for some reason these tasted pretty standard, or generic. Like the ones from Costco. The deep fried wontons however, stole the show. Very tasty A+.

The soups came out next and were boiling hot! I am not complaining at all because that is how soup should be served... The photo on top is the Hot and Sour - my favorite. I thought the soup was very filling, lots of tofu and pork throughout. One complaint was it was lacking spice. It could have knocked me off my seat a little bit more! You know? More bang for my buck! Ha ha! Amanda ordered the Chicken and Corn Chowder - which I think is an odd option for soup at a Chinese food restaurant but, hey whatever works... She said it was surprisingly good. Don't judge the taste from the photo is what I believe she said. She did dress it up with a few shakes of white pepper and a splash of soy sauce to rejuvenate it a bit though.

All and all, nice little place to grab lunch. Not too expensive and you're served pretty quickly. The staff is very friendly and does not bark at you like other Chinese food experiences I have had. But just a tip, do get there before 12:00 if you want to go for lunch. You will not be able to get a table! I say that is a sign, happy customers return! Go on down and check out Happy Cafe - 1.5 thumbs up!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pendelton Round-up - Pendelton, OR

This by far was not just a rodeo, it was an experience. Probably the best rodeo out there. I know Salinas Rodeo is awesome but this by far takes the cake. I went to the museum, underground town, Hamley's, Severe's, Pendelton Grain Grower's, Rainbow Room, Crabby's and of course couldn't leave without going inside the infamous "Let'r Buck Room". It truly was a fabulous time. If you haven't been, go. If you have been, you know what I am talking about! Enjoy!