Restaurant Review: NOLA

Published September 26, 2017 by microncat

Oh wow, it’s been a minute, huh?  Haven’t posted since May.  Well, it’s been a busy summer!

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Tonight we went to a new restaurant on New Garden Road called NOLA.  The place is located in the building that started life as a Carrabba’s (why oh WHY did they close???), and then changed to a diner called “Stan’s”, where we never ate before they changed again to NOLA.  As the name suggests, the theme is New Orleans-style cuisine.

menu

The menu has a lot to offer, but is predictably seafood-heavy.  On the back side of this page, there are salads, pasta, sides and drinks.  They carry ice tea and Pepsi products, so that’s two in their favor, IMO. 😉  We felt that the pricing was a little high for this type of restaurant – which retains a sort of “diner” feel – in this area.  YMMV on that one.

Although the restaurant has a bar (left over from its Carrabba’s days), we didn’t order alcohol.  I did see a couple nice looking martinis on another table, and their beer pour appeared to be generous, with no foam.  I had unsweetened iced tea (who’s surprised?), and they make great tea!  Ginny had water.

The waitress brought some garlic bread for the table.  The garlic top was pretty good, because, HELLO, GARLIC AND BUTTER – what’s not to love? But the bread part was meh.

As we often do, Ginny and I ordered one platter and a couple of apps to share.  Apps included a bowl of gumbo ($7.95) and Scallop Bites ($10.95).  The platter was the Fried Trio, which included Alligator, Shrimp and Catfish, with two sides ($27.95 if I remember right.)

The gumbo was thick and we both agreed, very much like glue – although it was some damn fine tasting glue!  The glue part, though, was underneath a big spoon of rice, some of which was undercooked, and what I thought were nice portions (for a bowl of soup) of shrimp, fish, and sausage.  The Andouille was black-pepper heavy, so I won’t get that again.  We both enjoyed the scallop bites – excellent portion size for lunch – and the fried platter was delicious, y’all.  I love alligator, and this is prolly the best alligator I’ve ever had – INCLUDING the alligator I had when we were in NOLA last May.  The batter has a hint of celery seed that really sets it off, and that white sauce you see in the picture there is ON POINT.  We both thought the catfish should have been rolled in cornmeal instead of battered tho.  Battered catfish is just weird.

For those of you who are interested, I did ask the waitress if the fish is wild-caught or farm raised.  She told us that the tilapia is farm raised (yuck!) but that everything else is wild-caught.

The decor had hits and misses.  I like the round, iron rings with marbles and wood that divides the room in this picture of Ginny in our booth:

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However, I was not a fan of the color scheme, nor of the upholstery.  You can see the Clash of the Circles and Dots in this shot of the left-side wall, here:

decor

See why I said it still felt like a diner inside?

charging station

Oh, I almost forgot!  Each booth has two charging stations on each side of the table, so you can hook up your mobile device while you eat.

 

 

 

Overall, I’d say it was good, but we prolly won’t go back for awhile.  I’m likely to go back for the Alligator Bites app at lunch, tho. 🙂

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Bonus Date: @ElmStreetGrill

Published May 13, 2017 by microncat

After seeing a video @EricChilton put up on Facebook about this place, I wanted to try it out, and it did not disappoint!  We were greeted at the door by Ravi, the owner, and led to a big booth near the windows.  We checked out the menu while he went to fill drinks.

According to the video, Ravi is from India, and that is reflected in the menu.  He has taken fusion to a different level, crossing cultures around on the plate.  Ginny got Chicken Tikka Tacos, and I got Jambalaya, which definitely had a different taste than one would expect.

The food was delicious!  Service was great, as well.  Ravi says they have over 400 reservations for mother’s day, so you prolly can’t go there this weekend, but definitely check them out; we will be back!

Date Night at Dame’s

Published May 13, 2017 by microncat

Well, there’s a Salvadoran restaurant on MLK Drive, or so says Ethnosh, but when we got there, they were closed.  We ended up four doors down, at Dame’s Chicken and Waffles.  I have heard folks rave about how great the food is, and we were there, so we went.  

It’s a dark place inside, with dark paint and concrete floors.  They only serve three pieces of chicken: legs, the biggest wings in history, and breast cutlet.  I was really wishing for thighs; I prefer “dark” meat, but no joy.  

Almost everything is served with a waffle of one kind or another.  I ordered a breast cutlet with classic waffle and orange honeycomb schmear.  

The breast was, as dreaded, dry, and the waffle was soft instead of crunchy. 😟

Service was fantastic, and the live 🎸 was **on point**, but IDK why folks are excited about this place; we definitely were not.

Date Night: Frida’s

Published May 1, 2017 by microncat




So this is about a month ago, but there is a new Mexican place in Kernersville called “Frida’s”.  It has a Frida Kahlo theme.  Frida was a Mexican painter, and she is one of my favorites.  This is the mural on the back wall.  Whoever did it, did a great job!

Ginny and I went there for lunch the end of March.  I ordered the ceviche appetizer as an entree, and it would serve at least three people.  I had it for four meals, lol.  It was gorgeous, and tasted as good as it looks!

Ginny got ye olde Speedy Gonzalez, if I remember right.  Their enchilada sauce is good!

This is the People Greeter.

This is the bar area.  Interestingly, the peeps in the bar were kids from Bishop McGuiness High School, all dressed up from some event.  They were very polite, and thanked the staff when they left.

Date Night: Pieology

Published January 28, 2017 by microncat

This week’s Date Night, we went to the new pizza place beside Whole Foods in Greensboro, called “Pieology”.

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The place has been open for a few months, and we got there right at 6pm, so there wasn’t a huge crowd.  Here’s what it looks like inside:

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So when you go in, the process is a cross between Subway and Chipotle.  There are menus on the walls, of course, and they have a few “standard” pizzas that you can ask for, but I think most people do the “build your own” option.  For $8.95, you get an 11.5″ pizza on white or whole wheat thin crust (gluten free – $2 more), with WHATEVER YOUR HEART DESIRES on top.  For $9.95, you get to build the salad of your dreams.  And man, do they have toppings!  Parm, mozz, ricotta, gorgonzola and some weird vegan pseudo-cheese <gack> are the cheeses I remember; there may have been more.

As you can see, it is somewhat like Subway, where you point and tell ’em what you want. The balls of dough come out on trays, and each one is placed on one of those wooden paddles, called a “peel”.  The Peel is then placed in a giant automated squisher-thing ™ and the dough is mashed flat, then the peel and dough are stacked in a rack until needed.  At that point, they bring it over to the make line, and you have to decide between three different “oil bases” – butter, herb butter, and one more I forgot.  They brush that around the edge of the crust, then they apply whichever sauce you pick, in a circular pattern just like in the picture on the menu.  Which is weird, because it means you don’t get sauce across the whole pie.

When I first got out of high school, I worked for Domino’s Pizza for several years, and I did everything in the store, including making pizza.  Domino’s has a standard for how you lay ingredients on a crust, and it goes like this: sauce, cheese, flat veggies, then flat meats, then chunky meats and veg, then top cheese, if any.  The bottom layer of cheese is supposed to cover the entire circle of red sauce, with no “red edges”, and toppings are spread evenly across the pie.  The reasons for this are, visual appeal, and, more practically, so the pie gets cooked evenly.  (Back then, we used raw hamburger and raw breakfast sausage, so it was important to get it all cooked well.  Now it’s all precooked, but I digress.)  I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of the whole crust having toppings, not just the middle.

I tell you all this as a cautionary tale, because I had to repeatedly tell the food handlers to spread the cheese and toppings out across the pie.  They were both literally piling all the toppings right in the middle – no toppings out near the edge of the crust – like they were trying to build a pyramid.  When I asked them to spread things evenly, they looked at me like I had three heads, but they did it.

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This is the, “OMG, You’ve got three heads!” look on my pizza maker.  And lookit; he’s wearing gloves!  We never wore gloves at Domino’s…but it was the ’80s.

When your pizza is done, it’s passed to the “oven guy” and slid into the oven, which looks like a new model of the Baker’s Pride ovens we used at Domino’s, before the conveyor belt ovens came out.  If theirs is like ours was, it’s 600 degrees in there, baby!  Then, you pay for your dinner and get a number to put on the table, get your drink, and have a seat to wait.  We didn’t wait long, either.  Here’s the result:

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BOOM!!!  Pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, kalamata olives, Italian sausage, artichoke hearts and fresh basil.  Mmmmmm….  The pie is cut in eight slices, and they did a good job of keeping the sizes fairly even.  The crust could have been more crispy, but overall, I was pleased with mine, and Ginny liked hers, too.  Of course, I had enough pizza left over for two more meals, but they have takeout boxes right beside the drink machine, so it’s all good.  🙂

I had two issues with this place.  First, they do not have brewed tea.  They have that disgusting “Golden Peaks” crap that tastes like it came out of a can six weeks ago and got treated with chemicals.  That stuff is just unAmerican.  Seriously.  Second, they serve Coke products, and there’s no soda water option on the machine.

So that’s it!  It’s a really great idea, the custom pizza thing, and the price is phenomenal for what you get.  I think we’ll definitely go back.

 

Bengali Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Published January 27, 2017 by microncat

This week’s adventure in the Eating Well… cookbook is a REALLY great soup made with coconut milk and lots o’ spices.

bengali

Large bowl with cauliflower by Deik Pierce.  Small blue bowl by an Oak Ridge potter whose name I can’t remember.  Gray/green bowl by Charlie Tefft.  Enamel bowl by me.

Just check out all the deliciousness!  The recipe calls for a jalapeno pepper sliced up in it; I forgot to buy one, so used a chipotle instead.  Also, fresh thyme instead of dried, and dried parsley instead of fresh, LOL.  I don’t buy fresh parsley, ‘cuz it tastes like grass.  Not shown:  diced chicken meat, one thigh and one breast, and one clove garlic, which was already in the pot before I took this pic.

So, the coconut milk, onions, garlic, chipotle, ginger, thyme, cinnamon and parsley flakes all went in the pot together and cooked down until it was a gorgeous creamy consistency, and the house smelled amazing.  Then everything else went in and cooked for close to an hour.

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Small shino bowl by yours truly!

And here’s the final result!  It was SOOOOOOO good!!!  And low carb!  Not low fat, though, because, coconut milk (the recipe calls for “light” coconut milk, but I’m not into the crap additives they have to put in, to replace the fat, so I don’t buy it.)  This one is a winner, winner, chicken (soup) dinner!

 

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