Sunday, January 29, 2017

SAFFRON INDIAN CUISINE

Back in October we promised a visit to Saffron Indian Cuisine.  Well, we finally made it. 

Saffron is located at 1500  Mill Street in Greensboro.  Actually Saffron is located right beside Taste of Thai, off Westover Terrace.  And just to be clear, Saffron serves food from India...not maize, turkey and buffalo.

The first thing you notice when you enter Saffron is the wonderful aroma.  Debbie insisted it was the smell of cumin and coriander.  Debbie was probably right (she usually is), but it seemed to be a more exotic aroma than something I can pronounce and can be found in my home kitchen.

Anyway, whatever the case, I recommend you take a deep breath when you enter Saffron and savor it for as long as you can hold it in.  Saffron was no doubt the nicest smelling restaurant we've tried.

Debbie studies Saffron's menu before deciding.

I planned ahead.  I printed out a copy of the menu from the internet and marked what I wanted.  The printout had no descriptions, but I read the descriptions on Saffron's web site.  You can see the menu here,  You won't be able to pronounce anything without some difficulty.  A lot of the dishes are missing photos.  I can't explain that, other than to say somebody doesn't much care about their web site.  Fortunately, their approach to the food is of higher caliber than their attention to digital detail.

Debbie managed to find an Indian wine on the list.  Sula Shiraz is made in India.  Apparently, they make at least one wine in India.  I was not impressed with the wine, but Debbie liked it much better than I.  I thought it had an odd aftertaste. 

Debbie takes a deep sniff of her wine. I guess she liked the way it smelled because she finished the glass with no complaints.

Chai Tea (unsweetened) was my beverage of choice.  It is Darjeeling tea with milk and spices.  I have to admit Chai is much better when it's sweet, but I was trying to be a little wiser than usual.  The tea flavor was much more pronounced in the unsweetened version.  It was very good.

Here is a shot of the entire spread.  You can see it was quite a layout.  We'll discuss it in more detail below.

This is a Tandoori assortment appetizer which Debbie and I shared. The menu describes it as two kinds of chicken and lamb.  I would swear one of the meats was salmon, but salmon is not listed in the assortment description and I can't imagine salmon would cook very well in a Tandoori.  The red sauce to the right is made with onions and something red.  The meats were good, but the sauce was excellent.

A Tandoori is a cylindrical shaped clay pot.  Coals are fired in the pot where the foods are cooked.

This is my entree.  It is Goat Korma (mild).  Yes, you read that right, it is goat.  The goat is served in a cashew and almond paste with fresh cream.  It was incredible.  I can still smell the goat gravy on my fingertips.  I say fingertips because I spent a lot of time with the pieces of goat held by my fingers.  The gravy I ate with a spoon and/or naan, but the goat had to be handled with my fingers to remove the numerous bones.

You'll have to decide for yourself if you think Goat Korma is worth the effort to pick out the bones.  I believe it is.  It was my first taste of goat.  I know you're thinking "ugh!", but don't knock it until you try it.

Per standard procedure, much of the goat gravy ended up on my shirt rather than going in my belly.

My only regret is I should have ordered the Goat Korma medium heat rather than mild.  A little more zip would have added to the fantastic dish.

This is the large collection of bones I pulled out of my Goat Korma.

This is my Goat Korma bowl.  I wiped it clean with Naan.  This should be a clue as to my feelings about Goat Korma.

Note my credit card receipt called the dish Goat Pasanda.  I'll let you google both terms to determine the difference.

Here's Debbie's entree.  It is Boti Kabab  which is lamb marinated with herbs and cooked in a Tandoori oven.  I believe it's the same lamb that was on the Tandoori assortment.  Debbie thought the lamb was tasty but a bit tough

Debbie ordered Raita, a yogurt with shredded cucumber and herbs,  She slathered the lamb with the Raita and put the concoction in Naan to make mini-sandwiches.

I believe this Basmati Rice was served as a side dish to my goat.  I think the idea was to add the rice to the goat gravy.  I tried adding a few spoons of the rice to my gravy, but it didn't help the dish.  The rice was tasty, but a distraction from the very groovy goat gravy.

This stuff is delicious.  It is Naan, an unleavened white flour bread cooked in a Tandoori oven.  The Naan is moderately toasted.  It is crispy, yet pliable.  Very good.  You must order Naan when you visit Saffron.

Debbie described this dish as "I don't know what it is, but it is delicious!"  This is the dessert.  It's Gulab Jaman.  It's milk and cheese balls, fried in butter and soaked in honey syrup.  Why is it that things that taste so good are so bad for you?

Elephants are a "big" thing in India  This one was about two feet tall.  He stood on a shelf above our table.  The restaurant was decorated in a lot of elephant art.

Debbie rated Saffron as a 7.  I gave it an 8.37.  That averages out to somewhere between 7 and 8.37.  Believe it or not, I took two courses in statistics in college and taught mathematics to adults in a former life.

Debbie's rating was lower than expected probably because she thought her lamb was tough.  My rating was high because of the goat gravy.

The tab for dinner for two with tip was about $82.00.  I had a $30.00 coupon to apply to the bill. 

I also had an intuition that there was going to be problem with the coupon.  Sure enough the waiter came back to our table and told me the coupon expired yesterday (Jan. 27) and could not be accepted.  I knew perfectly well the coupon was good.  I took it and read the expiration date as February 27th, not January 27th as the waiter and his assistant seemed to think.  The expiration date was spelled out as "February 27, 2017", not a numerical date such as "1/27/2017". I showed the waiter the February date, he apologized, and processed the coupon.  Somehow two Saffron waiters had misread the expiration date.

Note Saffron is operated by Indians who don't speak or read English any better than Donald Trump.

Our next visit is planned for Leblon Brazilian Steakhouse.

Click images to enlarge.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

BONEFISH GRILL

I know it's been many weeks since you've heard from us.  Sometimes life gets in the way and we put off things to do other things.  Eating out has been one of the things we've put off.  And I know we promised to visit SAFFRON Indian next, but that's changed.  We're still going to SAFFRON soon, but tonight we're at BONEFISH GRILL at 2100 Koury Blvd in Greensboro.  BONEFISH is located next to FOUR SEASONS mall.

If you've never been to BONEFISH, let me tell you it's a fish restaurant.  You can order a steak, but I'm betting very few people order anything other than seafood. 

When I say BONEFISH is a fish restaurant, I don't mean it's akin to LIBBY HILL or MAYFLOWER.  It's a couple of notches above a Reidsville fish camp.  Of course the prices are above a LIBBY HILL or MAYFLOWER and I'm happy to report the quality of the food is also above LIBBY HILL or MAYFLOWER standards.

Food blogger Ricardo Montoban was the real reason we went to BONEFISH.  Ricardo was celebrating his birthday and he had a gift card to BONEFISH.  A gift card made BONEFISH an easy dinner selection.

The first indication of quality was the water service.  It was pure Greensboro tap water served in a quart milk jug.  I love that Greensboro tap water.  And putting it in a milk jug was awesome!  I managed to polish off the entire bottle by the end of the meal.

Served with the water was a loaf of bread with an olive oil and herb dip.  Debbie identified the herbs as oregano, thyme and something else.  I believe there was some garlic in there along with a tiny bit of Parmesan.  Whatever it was, it was damn good.  I could have asked the waiter, but I forgot.  Sorry, I guess I was a little "high" on the Greensboro water.

Debbie enjoyed a glass of Rodney Strong Merlot.  I know - a red wine with fish?  But, it was the appropriate selection for Debbie's dinner. 

Believe it or not, this is Debbie's appetizer.  It could have been Debbie's dinner.  It's Thai Coconut Shrimp.  The six large shrimp were coated with sweet Thai chile sauce.  Debbie thought the shrimp were spicy hot.  She shared one with me.  I thought they were perfect.  She also gave me the leftover tails.  I'm like some sort of shark, I will eat things other people reject.  Shrimp tails fried crispy, like these were, are delicious.

This is my appetizer - Maryland Crab Cakes with remoulade sauce.  The cakes were all crab.  If there was any filler, I couldn't taste it.  The remoulade was a bit spicy.  It was a nice combination, but Debbie's shrimp made me jealous of what she ordered.  That seems to happen a lot, but it's a necessary drawback when your intent is to enjoy the dinner and review the food.

Here's my entree.  It's pecan Parmesan encrusted Rainbow Trout.  I wish I could tell you it was fabulous, but I can't.  It was good, but not great.  The white chunks are artichoke hearts and the green sprinkle is basil with lemon butter.  It sounds good, but it could have been better.  I guess I was expecting more flavor in the fish.

The green in the bowl is sauteed spinach.  I hate green food, but I've been trying some healthier items in my old age.  In the bowl above the spinach is coleslaw.  Both the spinach and coleslaw were good.  They had distinctive flavors.  Actually the two side dishes were better than the somewhat flavorless trout.

This is Debbie's entree.  That small piece of fish in front is an Ahi Tuna Steak.  Debbie liked it, but I thought it was a bit too cold.

Debbie explained the coolness was due to the tuna being served medium rare.  Tuna steak should be served medium rare.  I bet if we could see inside the tuna, it would be red.  I should had her slice it for the camera.

The red sauce in the small bowl behind the tuna is an Asian sauce which Debbie did not order.  She ordered a grilled lemon to accompany the tuna.  It took a few minutes to nail down a waiter and get the grilled lemon.  I put her Asian sauce on my trout to kick it up a bit.  It helped.

Debbie also ordered the sauteed spinach along with garlic whipped potatoes.  I got to taste her potatoes.  They were very good.  I wanted them too, but decided to stick with the healthier spinach and coleslaw.

Debbie won't agree, but I thought this was the best part of the BONEFISH meal.  It's a Macadamia Nut Brownie with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.  I ordered it and Debbie told the waiter she was "too full to eat anything else."  Fortunately, the waiter didn't pay any attention and brought two spoons so we could share the dessert.  Debbie helped me eat it.  She avoided the ice cream and the raspberry sauce.  She does not like ice cream or raspberries.

I later noticed on the BONEFISH menu that the brownie is flourless.  I'm not sure what it's made from...maybe chocolate and magic.  Hell, if I had known that. I would have ordered another one!  Just kidding.  The brownie was delicious, but I felt like hurling after the meal.

I was amazed my blood sugar was normal when I checked it after we got home.  Maybe it was the mint leaf that was served on top of the whipped cream on top of the brownie.  I ate half of the leaf.  I told you I am a shark at meal time.

I am showing you this empty table in order to remind you to call for a reservation before dining at BONEFISH.  Seriously.  We had to wait about 15-20 minutes for a table when we arrived at 6 PM on a Saturday evening.  We didn't have a reservation.

A few minutes after the picture was clicked the table was filled with at least 14 people.  Everyone from a breast feeding baby (no kidding, the kid was on mom's nipple) to a grandpa came in and were seated soon after us.  

Another table of maybe 10 people, who arrived when we did, weren't seated for more than 20 minutes after we got a table.  I remember that group well because a black man wearing a cowboy hat seemed to be the Master of Ceremonies for the group.  You don't see a lot of black men wearing cowboy hats in upscale seafood restaurants.

This was our BONEFISH server.  His name was Travis.  I asked Travis why the BONEFISH menu had prices with only one decimal place and no dollar sings. An item costing $12.70 was printed as 12.7.  This is the standard question I ask all waiters in restaurants with such pricing.  The question always embarrasses Debbie, but I ask it anyway.

Apparently, Travis had been asked the question before. He quickly answered it is because of "market styling".  Dropping the zero seems "cooler" and the $ sign attracts attention to the high prices. Upscale restaurants don't want to attract attention to the prices.

Thank you for your honesty, Travis.

Debbie and I rated BONEFISH a 7 on a 1-10 scale.

Dinner for two cost about $100 with tip.

Here is the morning-after breakfast.  Scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, French toast, coffee, and a  Mimosa (OJ with Presecco champagne).  It's nice being treated like royalty one day of the year.

Note: We hit a deer on the way home.  It was a big doe.  It struck the driver side panel from the rear wheel and halfway across the front door. We didn't stop.  There was nothing we could have done if we had stopped.  I'm guessing the deer was bruised and went on its merry way across Witty Road.  This was our sixth car-deer strike over the years.  We live in a very dangerous stretch of Rockingham County.  There doesn't appear to be any damage to our Equinox SUV, other than a smear in the mud that frequently coats the outside of our car. 

We later learned the damage total was $1200. Happy birthday to me.

Click images to enlarge.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

KEATON'S BARBECUE


We're going off the beaten path today to Keaton's Barbecue.  This is one of Debbie's My Home Kitchen shows.  I liked it so much that I thought I would share it with www.reidsville.com.  I hope you enjoy the program and will try the barbecue.  The atmosphere alone at Keaton's is worth the trip.

video

It's a little more than an hour drive from Reidsville, so plan accordingly.

Monday, October 17, 2016

RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE

Like the sign says, this is RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE.  It is located at 800 Green Valley Road in Greensboro.  Turn right at the IHOP on Battleground.  RUTH's CHRIS will be on your left a very short ways down Green Valley.  Pay close attention.  It's located in a large building and easy to miss.

I will warn you: IT IS EXPENSIVE, BUT EXTREMELY GOOD.  You probably won't eat there every day.  It's definitely a special occasion kind of place.  I took Debbie there for her birthday.

This is some of the glitter that decorated the table where we were seated.  These were tiny bits - fingertip size of confetti. 

Birthday girl Debbie reads through the wine list.  I also had a list.  She chose the 50 Acres Cabernet.  I had never heard of 50 Acres.  If I had ordered a wine, which I didn't, I would have ordered the 50 Acres.  Strange things like that happen frequently when you've been married as long as we have.

I should mention Debbie did not like the chairs at RUTH'S CHRIS.  They reminded her of the chairs at Mayflower Seafood in Reidsville - the chairs are vertically too close to the bottom of the table.  She couldn't cross her legs while dining.  Very unfortunate circumstance.

This is the appetizer I ordered.  It is CRISPY LOBSTER TAIL.  The lobster is fried.  It is served with a cream sauce, spicy Jalapeno pepper jam, and some sweet cucumbers and peppers.  I'm guessing the orange sauce is the spicy Jalapeno pepper jam.  It was awesome  I could have easily eaten just the sauce and maybe 3 or 4 pounds of the lobster.  That's lemon tied up in mesh material with a ribbon on the left back corner.  I guess I was supposed to squeeze the lemon on the lobster.  The lobster was too good to need lemon.  I didn't touch the lemon.

I can't find Debbie's dish on the online menu.  It's a beef filet topped with a sauce and crab meat.  I'm guessing the filet was about 6 ounces.  The crab was a generous portion.  The beef was tender.  I tasted both the beef and crab.  Both were good, but paled compared to my steak.

Here is my dinner.  This piece of meat must be the reason RUTH's CHRIS exists.  It is a prime 24 ounce T-Bone.  It was perfectly cooked (medium rare).  There must have been salt added because the juice from the beef was very salty - just the way I like it.  

According to our waiter, the beef was aged for 26 days and broiled in a dual (top and bottom) burner steak cooking thingie at 1800°.  I can't remember whether the aging was dry or wet.  The steak is served on a plate that has been heated to 500°.  I can vouch for the 500° because I accidentally touched the plate.  It was 492°.  I guess it cooled down a bit before I touched it.

Debbie really liked my T-bone.  She normally does not eat T-bone.  If she had to do it over, she would order the T-bone.

There's a couple things going on in this photo.  At the top of the photo, on the end of her fork, is grilled asparagus.  That's a hollandaise sauce in the small bowl under her fork.  I did not taste the asparagus.  I hate asparagus.  I found the hollandaise sauce to be unremarkable.  I'm not sure what Debbie thought of the dish.  I think she ate it all, it must have been pretty good.

I should mention the asparagus arrived at our table 5-10 minutes after the steaks were served.  Not good.

Forget about the asparagus.  Now look at the three sauces in the tray.  These are intended for my T-bone.  They are complements to my entree.  They are a BLACK TRUFFLE BUTTER, SHIITAKE DEMI-GLACE, and a HONEY SOY GLAZE.  I have no idea which sauce is which.  All I know is they were all delicious, especially the one in the center.  I especially liked how one is called a GLACE and another a GLAZE.  These three complements cost $6.00.  They were worth it.  When no one was around and my steak was cleaned down to the bone, I tore off small pieces of bread and dipped them in the center sauce.  Yummy for the tummy.

If you want a peaceful and quiet dinner, I recommend RUTH'S CHRIS on Sunday evening.  From 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM, we had two adjoining dinning rooms to ourselves.  We could see into a third dining room where some sort of wine tasting group of about 15 people were eating.  A fourth dining room was completely empty.  I can only assume we came on an unusual day and time.  I think RUTH'S CHRIS has been open for quite a few years, so I doubt business is alway this bad.  There were almost as many staff people working as there were customers.

Here's a shot of the bar.  I think this was a waiter standing at the bar.  There were no customers and no bartender.  It looked like a helluva nice bar.  It was well stocked, neat, clean and empty.

This is Shawn (or Shaun).  I couldn't read his name tag in the semi-darkness.  Shawn was our waiter.  Shawn was friendly and helpful and talkative.  Shawn was apparently bored.  He had no customers.  I can only hope on a busy night he would have been less chatty.  I expect most people would like a talkative waiter.  I am not one of those people, especially on my wife's birthday.

Did you know Shawn owns a Weber grill and an outdoor cooker which will hold seven turkeys.  If you ever need a turkey(s) cooked and you've run out of cooker space, contact Shawn.  He can help you.

Our waiter talked a lot.  Frankly I got lost several times.  He talked about grocery stores where you could find beef kinda like, but not exactly like, RUTH'S CHRIS.  He talked about restaurants he has worked in or owned all over the country.  Did you know there are more than 50,000 places to eat in New York City?  Don't believe me?  Go ask our RUTH'S CHRIS waiter.  He worked and lived in NYC for many years.

Strangely, our waiter had never heard of SPARKS STEAKHOUSE.  SPARKS is a famous New York City restaurant.  SPARKS has been in operation since 1966.  It's so well known the mafia executes people on the sidewalk in front of SPARKS.  I know because I've eaten at SPARKS.  Less than a month after I ate at SPARKS, the mafia blasted a couple of "bad guys" at the front door.  SPARKS is so cool they change the tablecloth between courses.  Our waiter, who has never heard of SPARKS, simply scraped our tablecloth before serving dessert. 

I recommend you look at the SPARKS web site.  It makes RUTH'S CHRIS look kinda humble, but SPARKS is located in NYC and RUTH'S CHRIS is in Greensboro.

I almost forgot.  I asked our waiter about the odd name of the restaurant - RUTH'S CHRIS.  According to Chatty Guy, a woman named Ruth Fertel bought the first restaurant from a guy named Chris.  Chris' Steakhouse was located in New Orleans.  Ruth was required to keep the name Chris. thus Chris' Steakhouse turned into RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE.

Check out this dessert.  It's White Chocolate Bread Pudding with a birthday candle.  Thank goodness Shawn did not sing Happy Birthday to Debbie.  The pastry chef wrote the greeting in chocolate sauce on the plate.

It was definitely bread pudding, but with a cake flavor.  It was good, but different from any bread pudding I've ever had.  Debbie said it was the white chocolate.  I have to admit I've never had white chocolate bread pudding.

The sauces in the little silver cups are Tia Maria and Frangelico.  The dessert was available with a choice of maybe five sauces.  We choose two because we didn't know what Tia Maria was and wanted to try it.  Tia Maria is a sauce made Jamaican Rum and Jamaican Coffee Beans.  Frangelico is made from hazelnuts.  Tia Maria was "bigly" delicious.

Note Debbie made this photo.  The ethereal look is courtesy of the candlelight and her Samsung Galaxy S7 cell phone.

The two-person dinner tab was $196 with the tip, but there was a major problem with the bill. 

The waiter failed to properly process my credit card.  The credit card machine printed notices that the card was rejected.  The waiter failed to notice the rejection and brought me pieces of paper that had no place to sign.  I ignored it and signed a blank space on the bottom of the credit card notice.  I believe that would have been the end of it and we would have walked out with a free meal in our bellies.  However, Debbie told the waiter about the missing signature line.  Oops!  He realized he had messed up, took my credit card and ran it through his machine again.  It worked on the second pass.  Goodbye $196.

RUTH'S CHRIS is not cheap, but it's very good.

Click images to enlarge






Saturday, October 15, 2016

GOODBYE BREAKFAST

The week is over.  We've packed up and headed back to Rockingham County.  This is our last meal at Kure Beach.

Well, it's almost Kure Beach.  We missed the Arby's in nearby Wilmington.  It must have been pretty well hidden behind the trees that line Highway 421.

This is actually more than an hour from Kure Beach in Warsaw.  We didn't get to eat until after 11:00 AM.

I am a sucker for TV ads.  I had to try Arby's new Pork Belly sandwich.  It's a bun with not particularly thick-cut pork belly.  The pork belly is covered by an unidentified yellow cheese, an unidentified white sauce, and onion rings.

It wasn't bad, but it tasted nothing like the steaming mass of pork that you hear about from voice actor Ving Rhames in the Arby's commercial.  Ving really made me want a Pork Belly Sandwich. 

I don't regret spending $12+ for two Pork Belly sandwiches and two cups of coffee, but I won't go running back to Arby's to get another one.

P.S.  Artby's coffee sucks

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

LEFTOVER NIGHT

Kure Beach.

It looks like a pizza, but it's something else.  It's leftovers, very tasty leftovers. 

Yes, that's a Coney Island Hard Root Beer in the glass.  

It's round like a pizza.  It's sliced like a pizza.  You eat it like a pizza (with your hands, Donald and Richard Moore).  However, it didn't taste like a pizza.

It's something Debbie threw together to clean out the refrigerator.  It's not a pizza.

For a crust Debbie used Naan Bread.  Naan works well as a pizza crust, even though it tastes nothing like pizza crust.  The sauce is Tomato Spice Medley.   Tomato Spice Medley tastes nothing like pizza sauce.  The toppings are mainly leftovers from soup and sandwich night - ham, roast beef, salami, turkey and cheeses.  Giant shrimp from a pasta and shrimp dish went on the top

The whole thing was popped in an oven to warm up everything and crisp the crust.

It was very good.  Debbie works miracles with food.

Note:  If you're interested in trying a hard root beer, Reidsville's Food Lion sells Coney Island.  Yes, it's true, you can buy hard root beer at Reidsville's Food Lion.

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