Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Countdown to Alinea

In less than a month, I'll be in Chicago for a day to attend business meetings but the highlight of the trip is my dinner at Alinea. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for this dinner since it will be something different from what I'm use to and it's more of a performance than just eating food. I opted for the 12-course tasting menu compared to the 24-course tour. I would like to include the wine pairing but I have to drive to Waukegan after dinner and I hate to get pulled over or lost during the 45 minute drive.

In the meantime, I've been reading reviews of what to expect like, how to find the place, photography rules, what water to order, etc. I found some more food porn on Alinea on YouTube. Dang, I'm excited!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Orlando: Dexter's at Thornton Park

A few months ago we spent a week in Orlando, FL for the first part of our 2 week honeymoon. I wanted us to experience some local cuisine so I did some research on some of the best Brunches in Orlando. Based on various website reviews, I found Dexter's at Thornton Park. We arrived at around 11:30am and the line was out of the door (a good sign). You have the choice of regular seating, eating at the bar or outside. We opted for the regular seating since it was a bit humid outside and I wanted to watch what was on their huge LCD screens.

While we were waiting (about 30 minutes), I was scoping out what some of the diners were having. I saw crab cake eggs benedict, waffles, and chicken and biscuits. Once we got a table, I took a quick glance at the menu and it was a bit different from what was on their website. There were so many dishes to choose from. I went with my gut instinct and ended up getting the Dexter's Eggs Benedict. Marc got the Jambalaya since he loves Creole/Louisiana type of food. I also got a strawberry mimosa. OMG! The mimosas were delish plus they were only $2.50. I think I ended up having 3 (2 strawberry, 1 mango). I wasn't driving, of course!

While we were waiting for our food, I noticed the line outside started to get longer and the atmosphere was sort of like a college pub. It was a bit noisy and the diners looked to be in their 20s and 30s.

Both entrees were very good. The eggs benedict came with spinach, tomatoes, smoked turkey on French bread with a lava mustard hollandaise sauce, miniature potato pancakes, and fresh seasonal fruit. I always hate it when English muffins are tough and hard to slice into. I liked how it was on french bread and it was soft and light. Since I was more involved in my dish, I didn't bother tasting Marc's jambalaya. He said it was good so I took his word for it. Even though this place is a bit far from the theme parks, it was well worth the drive.

What to order:
  • Everything looks good on this menu, you can't go wrong.
  • Dexter's Eggs Benedict - $9.00
  • Chicken Tortilla Pie
  • Mimosas are a must have! For $2.50, it's a steal. I love the strawberry mimosa.
Things to know:

  • Street parking. You're better off parking at the parking structure behind the 7-Eleven which is about 3 blocks away.
  • Small bathrooms. Marc told me there isn't a wall when you walk in so diners can literally see you when the door opens.
  • Arrive around 11am, lines start to form after 11:30am.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

San Diego: Phil's BBQ

Today, our niece came down from Oceanside so that Marc can fix her laptop. We haven't eaten all day so we took her to one our favorite bbq places in San Diego. Phil's is San Diego's best BBQ joint, hands down. Lines can form outside the door. I noticed today that the line can even go out to the parking lot since I saw a sign that said "21 minutes from this point".

Since their grand opening at their newest location near the Sports Arena, it seems they expanded a little more by adding outdoor patio seating. You can't go wrong with anything at this place. I also like their assortment of drinks from Diet Coke to Iced Green Tea. If you have a craving for some hometown bbq, drop by this place. You won't be disappointed.

Full Beef Rib Dinner (5 bones) with Sweet Baked Beans and French Fries

BBQ Cheeseburger

Half BBQ Chicken

What to order:
  • Beefy Ribs - $17.95
  • BBQ Chicken - $6.75
  • Baby Back Ribs - $10.95
  • BBQ Cheeseburger - $5.95
  • Sweet Baked Beans - $2.25
  • Onion Rings - $5.95
Things to know:
  • This place can get busy during the weekend. I suggest you get there around 4:30pm before the evening rush.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Maui: Mama's Fish House

While we were in Maui, we thought about taking the road trip to Hana. Well, after a few miles on the road, we decided to head back because the trip was a bit longer than we thought. While we were heading back to Kaanapali, it was around lunch time and we were lucky enough to find Mama's Fish House on our way back.

This was place was gorgeous! There is a little private beach and the restaurant faced the beach. This was the first place I ever had Hawaiian haupia. I didn't really care for it until I had it here and it was so yummy, I've craved it every single day while we were in Maui. I have fond memories of this place because it was the day after we got engaged and our waiter said he saw my engagement ring from across the restaurant.

Anyways, the menu here changes every day but I do know the seafood is fresh. All of the fish is caught that morning. Located in a world renowned location, it's definitely a must-see place to go.

Secluded beach in front of the restaurant

What to order:
  • Any fish dish, esp. the Mahi Mahi Laulau with Luau Leaves
  • Shrimp Won Tons with macadamia nut dipping sauce
  • Haupia
  • Mai Tai or Mojito
Things to know:
  • This place is VERY expensive. Even the lunch menu was pricey. Expect to pay well over $100 for lunch.
  • All of the fish are caught that morning. Dishes are even named by the fishermen who caught it.
  • Reservations are highly recommended. If you're lucky, you can drop by during the week and wait for about 15-20 mins.