Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dimillo's Floating Restraurant - Portland, Maine

While in Maine we did get to sneak away for one great meal... Dimillo's Floating Restaurant in downtown Portland.

The restaurant is actually a converted car ferry that originally ran between New Castle, Delaware, and Pennsville, New Jersey. Later it ran between Newport and Jamestown, Rhode Island. In 1980, it was sold to the Dimillo family and converted into a floating restaurant, one of the largest in America. The restaurant rises and falls with the tide twice a day, and because it's surrounded by water, every table offers spectacular views from our dining rooms, function rooms, and outside decks.

This was a spinach salad ordered by Bud's wife. She thought it was very tasty and even shared a few bites with her husband!
This was my Lobster Stew! I loved it! I am going try to make it myself! Very good, best thing about my trip to Maine!

Your standard Clam Chowder, ordered by Mark. Very good - reported.
Photo #1 of what Mark ordered....

My Crab Cakes! Best ever... no filler! Perfect! :) Graham's meal. A tidy Lobster,, with clams and vegetables.
Photo #2 of what Mark ordered... he ate it all!

Marta's Lazy Lobster, which was basically pulled Lobster meat and crab on top.
Bud and his Lobster!
I didn't really get a chance to give you the full run down of each meal because it was such a fun group! We talked and talked and I didn't get to study the menu as I usually do... But all in all, Dimillo's gets two thumbs up! Very fancy, very good food! One in a lifetime opportunity!

Portland, Maine

Just went to Maine for work, check out the pictures... so pretty!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cocola - San Jose

Desserts must be had after our Cajun meal right? Right! We walked a few blocks and came across...

On the plate were 2 orders of Mango Mousse, a Strawberry Cheesecake and a Hazelnut Cake. Drinks were Mocha Bianca's and Lemonades. They all were good, but I don't recommend the cheesecake. It tasted like nothing. Not bad, but definitely not worth the calories. It seriously tasted like nothing. I wish I could say it tasted gross but, sense it literally tasted liked whipped nothing, I can't. Everyone else agreed. I am not crazy.

Roux - San Jose, Ca

Shopping all day at Valley Fair can really wear a girl out! We needed something to fill our tummies and something interesting, something never been to before... Roux Louisiana Kitchen on Santana Row? Sure, why not? Sounds perfect!

Elaborate feathered masks and gilded capes covering walls, strings of beads hanging around waiters' necks, and rum-laced Hurricanes served in outsized goblets: Roux Louisiana Kitchen declares its enthusiasm for all things New Orleans from the moment you walk through the door. The dining room, tucked off to one side and almost hidden behind a row of faux lamp posts, feels like an afterthought, despite its exuberant decor. On the menu, drinks outnumber dishes by nearly two to one and include mint juleps and absinthe along with Bourbon Street specialties such as the Hurricanes. Martinis and mojitos come in a variety of flavors.

So we joined in the fun! Jennifer ordered the Mint Julep. Strong! Wow. That girl can hold her own. Amanda and I are a little bit more conservative and order the mojito. Hers the "Coconut Vanilla" and mine the "Standard" - both were fabulous! Very refreshing.

I took the hot cornbread and honey butter delivered right after the menu as a sign that Roux was on the right track. The mini loaves of cornbread were dense but not too heavy, with a nice chewy texture and a hint of sugar. We ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes as an appetizer and were disappointed to see there were only 3, I mean there were 4 of us! They told us for $2 extra dollars they would bring us an extra slice of tomato... um, no thanks. That was kind of weird. Oh well, onward!

Jennifer ordered two types of soup and starts off our entree trail... The first is the Crawfish Etouffe, which is crawfish tails, tomato, peppers, onion and celery. Next is the Gumbo, shrimp, oysters crabmeat, andouille sausage and okra. Both served over rice. She said both were ok, the later tasting sort of like dirt. I think she was being nice - don't you think? ;) Mine is next... and take a guess -- CRAB CAKES! I feel like Homer Simpson... except he likes donuts and I love crab cakes! The large cakes were terrific, more sweet crab than filler and pleasingly crisp on the edges. Roasted red pepper aioli and a generous salad of very fresh mixed greens filled out the dish. Next was Elena's Buttermilk and Abita Beer Battered Fried Chicken - say that 10 times fast! The chicken was out of this world good! Thick, crunchy skin and the chicken tender... Elena substituted the cole slaw for Mac and Cheese and it was not your usual, it had a crunchy crust and made with the good stuff! Real cheese and a lot of butter! Yum. Amanda ordered the Blackened Catfish and was not so impressed. The fish was slightly mushy and the sauce was pretty spicy. Even for me, and I love spice! Potato Au Gratin and vegetables also rounded the dish, they both were ok.

Our server was remarkably enthusiastic but disappeared for long stretches. I think they were understaffed though, poor guy. The manager should have stepped in to fill the gaps, making sure water glasses were refilled, new drinks delivered and dishes cleared between courses. But instead he walked around aimlessly, providing no help to the restaurant's success. Our bill came and we split the bill in quarters. They handled the task of 4 ATM cards quite seamlessly. That was nice. I could really see myself returning to this place! Not necessarily for the food but for the drinks! The drink menu was fun! Lots of cool drinks to try. The setting is wonderful. They have a mask themed event on October 31 - anyone interested in going? 1.75 thumbs up!


Mission Cafe - San Juan Bautista, Ca

Good morning San Juan Bautista! That is how my brother, sister, my sister's friend - John and I felt this morning... so we decided to pay the Mission Cafe, located at 300 3rd Street, a visit. Not your traditional Mexican food restaurant, yet a happy little cafe who likes to serve the traditional breakfast and egg kind of breakfast and so much more! Read on...

The Mission Cafe in San Juan Bautista is again open for business. This time last year it was closed and forlorn but in March 2008 it reopened. Now it has a new lease of life. Inside it looks almost the same. The stools at the counter are new as is the bar but the layout is identical. It is not a large diner but it’s compact. In the front window is a large table for 6. Along the side are 4 four-seater booths. In the middle are 4 small tables for 2 and there are ten places at the counter.Decorating the walls are lots of old photographs, some of San Juan Bautista views and a few portraits. There are a few other knick knacks on the window sills.

On with the food. The first photo is the "Eiffel Tower" and John's choice. It is french toast and eggs, bacon and hash browns. Lots of food! He said he loved it. Next was James' order of eggs, hash browns and ham. He ate the whole thing so I am sure he also enjoyed it. Mine is third and looks quite similar to the last two photos... we must all have great taste! I ordered my bacon and hash browns extra crispy. Cooked to perfection! Jennifer was last and she went with lunch fare. A BLT and macaroni salad. She said it was really tasty, in fact, she wanted to be quoted saying, "They have really good bacon, it tastes really good." Enough said.

I couldn't believe how packed this place was, SJB is happening! I was happy to see the little cafe busy. The waitstaff was very friendly and accommodating. The food was served quickly and the price was extremely fair. I am very impressed with this little corner cafe! Two thumbs up all the way. Go to the 95045 and check it out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Whole Pumpkin Baked with Cream and Cheese

I actually made this!
It combines my two loves - Fall and soup! I love it! I experimented for Thanksgiving and boy am I glad I did! Let me walk you through the process...

Get a 2-4 lb pumpkin from your grocery store, pumpkin stand or local farm... your choice, they are all good. I recommend one a little larger than a cantaloupe. Next up is my favorite - the cheese!Gruyère cheese or any melting cheese, up to 1 pound. I know a pound seems excessive but, each pumpkin serves 4-6 people. You will need a few cups of cream, two Tablespoons of butter and nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Preheat your oven to 375.

Slice the top of the pumpkin like you would if you were carving pumpkins. Clean out the seeds and maybe put them aside to bake later. I love pumpkin seeds. Scoop out all pulp. Fill the pumpkin with grated Gruyère cheese until about a third full.

Fill the pumpkin with cream until about two-thirds full. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Throw in a knob of butter, because we all know that pumpkins and butter always pair well.

Replace the pumpkin top. The filled pumpkin is now ready to bake. Bake at 375 for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender and spoonable. Check the pumpkins for doneness by removing the lid and poking it with a knife.

I took off the lid of the pumpkin for the last 30 minutes to brown the cheese on the top.

All done! Isn't it beautiful? Serve while it is still hot and bubbly! Be sure to scrape the inside of the pumpkin as you serve into bowls or as I did and eat it directly from the pumpkin solo! ;)